Introducing your older child(ren) to the new baby, and helping them adjust to the little one, is an important step in preparing for your family’s expansion. Below are some tips to help make this transition smooth for your older one(s):
- Be consistent in your parenting style with your older child.
- Set aside daily one-on-one time with your older child. Even just ten minutes of focused attention may make a remarkable difference in your older child’s behavior.
- Try to involve your child in helping with the baby. Perhaps he can bring you a clean diaper or burp cloth to help him feel like he is part of the process.
- Remember that toddler-aged children take their time transitioning to new activities. Dedicate an hour to prepare leaving the house with the new baby and the older child(ren). This time allotment will allow you to get everything together for the baby, as well as prepare your toddler for leaving the house. Spills and wardrobe changes frequently happen, so give your family that extra time to accomplish tasks with grace amidst the possible chaos.
- Help your older child understand the need for empathy when it comes to caring for the baby’s needs. For example, when the baby needs her diaper changed, you can tell your toddler that dirty diapers make the baby feel uncomfortable and sad. This can help your older child enter the baby’s world in a way that speaks to him.
- Maintain a positive attitude. When preparing your child(ren) for the new baby, speak positively to them (as well as to yourself). Until there is an issue, assume that things will go smoothly as you transition to adding one more to your family. There is no need to stress over something that has not happened yet. Plus, talking and thinking positively about the sibling relationship will help you remain calm and peaceful.
- Teach your older child a song she can sing for the baby, such as “You Are My Sunshine” or “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” This will help create a special bond between them.
- When preparing for the new baby’s arrival, you can help your older child(ren) create a fun craft or art piece for the baby’s bedroom.