For some toddlers the addition of a new little brother or sister can be exciting. For others, it can feel like an intruder. And for mom and dad it can be overwhelming to watch your time divide even further. Here are a few tips for a smooth transition:
There are so many ways you can help your older child look forward to his new little brother or sister through small, inexpensive gifts.
Make a Big Brother or Big Sister T-shirt together to wear to the hospital.
Take big brother to Build-a-Bear Workshop to make a special bear, bunny, or other friend for his new little sister.
Have a gift at the hospital to give big sister from her new sibling.
During the end of the pregnancy give a big-kid gift to your little guy to show he is not a baby anymore. We gave this piggy-bank that emphasized responsibility to our son when his first sister was born:
Reading is a great tradition. When I had my second child and was still in the hospital the first night, I did a full bedtime routine including reading a story to my toddler. We read A Bad Case of Stripes. He picked the book and brought it to the hospital to have me read. It helped him know he was still important and his routines weren’t going to be disrupted by this invader.
Before the baby is born check out some of the great children’s stories available that give your child a little bit more of a concrete idea about what it will be like to have a new baby in the house. I think we’ve read Berenstain Bears’ New Baby and The New Baby from The Little Critter Series at least fifty times each.
For my kids, a new baby in the house has meant FUN, FUN, FUN! In the months leading up to the birth, we lined up play-dates, grandparent fun days, pool days, library trips etc. It was like summer camp!
4-Get Some Help
For most toddlers just a few minutes of your undivided attention will go a long way. Get somebody who loves newborns as much as I do to hold your little bundle while you get down on the floor and build a block city or sip on some pretend tea out of a plastic cup with your older child.
I read a quote today that I loved by Alan Redpath: “when God is at the center, self is destroyed, and love begins to reign.” Ultimately, we want our children not just to coexist and tolerate one another, but really love each other. Get your little guy or girl to start praying for his new baby sister or brother. Help him with the vocabulary to consider being a protector of the new baby, to think about how to serve you and his new baby sister or brother. Allow your son or daughter to consider how amazing God is for creating this new being that you haven’t even met yet. Toddlers are notorious for being selfish. Help your son love his new sibling and that will be enough!
Congratulations on your new baby and on moving toward being outnumbered by your children!