Helping your toddler adjust to a new baby

Having a baby the first time is daunting enough. It only becomes more challenging with subsequent pregnancies. From personal experience, I can say that I felt more exhausted than ever the second time because, in addition to pregnancy fatigue, I had a young child to take care of. It’s hard to make the transition to a mother of two. There is an anxiety about adjusting the baby to your family, and the other way around. Many worries burden your mind. How will your kid(s) react to the new baby? It is definitely a big change for younger children to accept, and adapt to.

Toddlers, who are really babies themselves, may find the arrival of the baby especially perplexing. They can’t quite express themselves, and they don’t know how to handle the big emotions they may be feeling.

Five tips to help your toddler adjust to a new baby in the house.

Here are some tips to get your toddler involved with the new baby:

1. Start early – Start preparing your toddler soon after you find out. You want to lay the groundwork for the changes that will take place. Nine months is a long time. Find opportunities to tell your older child just how things will be with a newborn around. Be honest! Although you don’t have to focus only on the difficult things about having a new baby, but be sure to talk about them.

2. Take their help – Nothing would please your toddler more than helping out with the baby. Give them simple tasks to do. Ask them to bring you a diaper, or help choose an outfit. This way, they won’t feel left out when you’re busy with the baby.

3. Talk about responsibility – Tell your toddler what it means to be a big brother or sister. Help them become more independent by reminding them of how ‘big’ they’ve become. Talk to them about being careful around the baby, and understanding why babies need the extra care.

4. Encourage sibling love – Try to create opportunities for the siblings to bond. At first, it can be hard to do so with a sleepy newborn, but you can share little milestones with your toddler, such as the first smile.

5. Sync routines – Initially, it will be hard to sync the different schedules and routines of a toddler and newborn. Keeping everyone’s best interest in mind, choose what works best for your family. Eventually, you may be able to feed them, and put them to bed around the same time. This will encourage the kids to feel connected, and part of the same family unit.

The first few years of raising two kids close in age can be challenging, but once they’re older, they should be the best of friends. Most of the time, at least!

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