Expecting a baby when you have a toddler can be both exciting yet daunting. On the one hand, your toddler will have a little baby brother or sister to play with and keep them company. However, on the other, toddlers can find it difficult when baby comes along as they are no longer the center of attention.
If you want to ensure things run as smoothly as possible when baby arrives, it’s a good idea to prepare your toddler (and yourself!), for what’s to come. To help, here you’ll discover some great tips on how to prepare your toddler for baby’s arrival.
Don’t Tell Them Too Early
You’ll obviously be excited about the pregnancy and want to tell everyone as soon as possible. However, when it comes to telling your toddler about their new baby sister or brother, you don’t want to do it too early.
The thing with toddlers is, they have zero patience. Even just one day can feel like a lifetime to them, so trying to tell them they will have a new baby sibling months before the arrival isn’t going to be the best idea. You’ll want to wait until much closer to the time to reveal the news. This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to keep it a secret, but you do need to be prepared that your toddler won’t be overly interested in the news until it’s closer to the birth.
Follow Your Toddler’s Lead
Once you have sat them down and explained about the baby, try not to overload them with information. They aren’t going to want to talk about the baby all the time. So, wait until they have questions (and they will have a LOT of questions!) and answer them as simply as you can.
Your toddler isn’t going to understand a lot about pregnancy and getting a new baby sibling. So, it’s important to keep any explanations brief and easy to understand. For example, they may ask you how baby got into your tummy. Avoid giving a lengthy, detailed explanation, just keep it short and simplified.
If you constantly talk about the baby to your toddler, there’s a chance they could start to resent their new sibling. So, you need to make sure you’re still giving your toddler plenty of attention and it isn’t all about the new baby. Of course, you can still ask your toddler questions from time to time, such as how they are feeling about getting a new sibling. Just don’t overdo it.
Get Them Involved In The Preparations
Getting your toddler involved in the preparations for baby’s arrival can help them to feel more of a part of it. So, let them help you pick things out for baby when you go shopping. Let them help you decorate baby’s room. You can also let them help you pack your hospital overnight bag. The more involved they are, the closer they’ll feel to their new sibling.
If your toddler will be moving into a different room after baby is here, you’ll also want to make sure that you make the transition as early as possible. That way, your toddler won’t feel pushed out as soon as baby comes along.
Don’t Make Out They Will Have A New Playmate
It’s common for parents to try to make baby’s arrival more exciting to their toddlers by making them out to be a new playmate. However, while they will eventually become a playmate for your toddler, in their first year they aren’t going to be able to do much of anything.
This can come as a shock and a disappointment to toddlers. After all, they’ve been told this is their new playmate, yet all the baby does is cry, sleep and feed. You need to prepare them for this by letting them know how helpless babies are for a while. Instead of setting them up as an exciting new playmate, instead talk to your toddler about how they’ll need to help look after baby. Explain why babies cry and the things your toddler can do to help.
Read Books About Children Getting Siblings
Toddlers learn a lot through the books they read. So, what better way to prepare them for a new baby sibling than by reading a book about it? You’ll find lots of books online designed to help toddlers make sense of babies and their role in the new family dynamic.
Make it a night time ritual to read books together about a baby’s arrival in the leadup to the birth.
Make A Plan For After The Birth
You’ll want to start thinking about what will happen after baby’s birth. Will your toddler be staying with friends and family until you’re ready to leave the hospital? If so, you’ll want to make sure they spend plenty of time with the person who will be looking after them. That way, it will be less of a disturbance when the day of the birth arrives.
Preparing your toddler for the actual day is just as important as preparing them for what will come afterwards.
Get Your Toddler Used To Doing Things Themselves
Once baby does come along, you’re going to have much less time on your hands. It’s going to be extremely challenging taking care of a baby and a toddler. So, to make it easier, you’ll want to start getting your toddler used to doing things for themselves.
Are they close to being able to dress themselves and brush their own teeth? If so, make it a priority to help them perfect these skills while you’re pregnant. That way, once baby does come along, your toddler will be able to do some things for themselves, leaving you free to worry about baby.
The above is some of the best ways to prepare your toddler for baby’s arrival. However, it’s important to remember that no matter how much you prepare, baby is going to cause disruption for both you and your toddler. It’s going to be a learning curve and some days will be much tougher than others. So, go easy on yourself and your toddler during the initial first few months.