It is so important to prepare your toddler for a new baby when you are expecting. I didn’t do enough to prepare my toddler and regret it.
In order to avoid sibling jealousy, it is necessary to help prepare your toddler for the new baby and help them feel important as an older child.
If you don’t do this you will end up with a toddler that acts out and shows regression because they don’t feel like they belong or know how to handle not being an only child anymore.
How to prepare your toddler for a new baby
There are several steps you should follow according to healthychildren.org in order to help your toddler understand what it means that you are having a baby and to also feel included in the process.
Telling Your Toddler About The Baby
Don’t wait to long to tell your toddler about the baby, they will be able to tell that something is going on when you aren’t acting the way you used to.
You can do this by reading new sibling books like this one I Am A Big Brother so that they get the idea of what it is like to be an older sibling and how they fit into the family with the new baby.
You can also pull out your child’s baby book and look at pictures of when they were in your belly and what they looked like as a newborn.
This will help your toddler understand what is going on and help them start to transition into their new role.
Involve your toddler in preparing for the baby
When you go to pick out baby items for the new baby have your toddler help you.
Allow them to give input on what their new sibling will need and make them feel like they are important.
I did this with my toddler and he loved picking out baby items and helping get things ready for his little brother.
If you create excitement around being a big brother or sister it will help make having a new baby a little easier on your child.
If you aren’t sure what to get for your new baby here is an article that will help: Must Have Items For Second Baby
One thing about reusing items from your first child is dealing with your toddler becoming possessive over some of the items.
This is only true if they recognize them, but also note that they may have some moments after the baby is born where they are taking some of the baby’s items and saying they are theirs.
If this does happen to you it is a normal reaction for a toddler and gently tell them this is little brother or sisters and redirect them toward a toy of their own that they like.
Setup the nursery together
If your toddler is anything like mine they are always trying to help you do things.
This comes in handy when you are setting up the nursery.
Have them help you organize things and open items you got from your baby shower and getting things all set for the new baby.
This will help your toddler feel a part of the process and get them used to the idea that they will have a little brother or sister.
You can even get a baby doll to help your toddler learn how to use the items in the nursery and understand how to handle a baby.
This is one thing I wish I had done with my son, people told me to do it but I didn’t.
I am recommending to you that you do this so that your toddler can help you when the baby arrives even if it’s something small like getting a bottle or grabbing you a diaper.
The reason I recommend it is that it helps your toddler feel helpful and keep them from feeling left out or like you don’t have time for them.
I will touch on this a little later because it can cause a lot of issues if they feel this way.
Introducing Your toddler to the baby
When you go to have the baby I recommend that your toddler stays with someone at this time because of everything that happens during birth your little one will probably get scared.
Also, a lot of hospitals don’t allow young children to be in the room during delivery.
When your toddler meets the new baby have them do it with your husband or significant other and let them be the first ones to meet the baby.
Make sure it is a calm quiet atmosphere and give them a chance to hold their new brother or sister for the first time.
You can even have a gift for them to help celebrate being a big brother or sister.
Final thoughts on preparing your toddler for a new baby
You are going to need to be patient with your toddler, this is a big life change for them and it can cause lots of different emotions to come out.
Allow your child to be sad or angry, they are going to need an outlet for these emotions especially since they can’t express how they are feeling by telling you.
Most toddlers haven’t mastered feelings so they act in different ways trying to cope with them.
Prepare yourself for some regression and dealing with a needy toddler at times.
Set aside some alone time with just you and your toddler so that they feel loved and important.
Your relationship with your child needs to stay strong or you will have screaming and a child that won’t listen or cooperate with you in any way.
I know this because we have dealt with it and it is not fun. The only way to fix it is to reassure them that they are still loved and are important.
Include your toddler in things you do each day with the baby and also tell the baby that you need some time with big brother or sister (only when your baby is content) so that your little one knows you are still there for them.
I hope this will help you make the transition with a new baby a little bit easier momma.
It is hard going from one baby to two, ask for help if you need it, especially when your baby is screaming and your little one needs you too.
It will be hard but you can get through this big life change!
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