BRINGING A NEW SIBLING HOME: TODDLERS & NEWBORNS
That time of expecting a new arrival and sibling to your first baby is exciting and daunting! It can be especially overwhelming on the little human who is no longer going to be the 'only child', and depending on their age and level of understanding surrounding this new addition - can bring up a bag of mixed emotions and circumstances.
We've got some top tips and ideas on how to make this transition easier for both parents and big brother or sister!
✖️Talk to your toddler about what’s happening, show them the room/cot/bassinet, show the photos of themselves as a baby, and now how they have grown up! Explain that babies start out small, just like they once did, and one day your little brother or sister will be big enough to play with them but for the time being they will be little and we need to be gentle, and caring towards them. d be suprised at how switched on a toddler actually can be! And just how well they can and will udnerstand things, when they aren't thrown into new experiences without warning!
✖️Let them know that babies can cry, and mummy and daddy will need to help the baby when they cry. Kids are switched on, and toddlers will ask many questions if they feel that the subject is open for discussion! Explain to them why the little baby is crying when they do, "They are just tired, and ready for a nap', or 'Baby is hungry now, mummy has to feed them, would like to sit with us and watch?'. You can also encourage them to comfort the baby, stroke their forehead, tell them it's k and when they stop crying praise them and explain how their new brother or sister has reacted, and how special that is! Typically, they just want to know they are being helpful and done a great job!
✖️Get the baby a present from big brother or sister, and vice versa. This can be a special way of letting them know that it is a occasion, it doesn't need to be anything hugely exorbitant - a little coloring in book, or ornament to signify how special this occasion is, and maybe a picture/painting or toy/rattle for the baby from their bigger sibling to celebrate things!
✖️Once you're home, ask them if they’d like to help, and always praise them for their love, kindness and help! If involved, many toddlers adjust to the change of having a younger sibling much easier, because they feel they are still relevant, needed and you can still spend time with them during the care of the newborn. At times, yes - will be tricky! Making an effort is the main thing they want to see.
✖️Always dedicate time 1:1 when baby is asleep, ask them what they’d like to do. If your partner is home, do a 1:1 date with them. Mum can be seen as being taken away from them at times, because having a newborn baby is time consuming! Dedicating a little 1:1 time together, even if it’s just 30 minutes, can reassure them greatly.
✖️Finally, why not try making up the ‘busy box’. Containing items for independent play, which can be unsupervised! Fill with items they choose, you can even buy some new small items! Make a big deal out of this, and ask them to pull it out when you’re feeding, baby goes through a cluster feed stage or growth spurt and is a little more clingy, or even if they don’t want to help out one day. Use it only for times you need to be with baby, so they feel as though it is their own special treat, and praise them for playing so well after!
For more information on toddler sleep, or if you have question or queries, contact us here.