Prepare Your Toddler for the Arriving Baby

Sibling rivalry is quite common. It can be overwhelming for a mother to give attention to both her toddler and her new-born and avoid the jealousy of the toddler. It’s not going to be easy, but there are a number of ways to prepare your toddler emotionally for the arrival of a new family member while you are pregnant.

Are you worrying too much?

An important stress factor is worrying too much about how your toddler will handle the arrival of a new baby who’s competing for your attention. There are a few issues that need to be addressed while you’re expecting, but it’s useless to worry about problems that you cannot control until your toddler will actually interact with the new-born.

How to tell your toddler that a new baby is coming

Don’t wait too much to announce your children that you’re pregnant. Try telling your toddler about the future baby around the same time you’re telling other family members and friends. Your toddler will likely pick up on the positive emotions expressed by the others when hearing the news and she will see it as good news.

Make sure your toddler gets a general idea about how a baby grows in the tummy and then joins the family. Explain it in simple steps and use references to stories your toddler knows. The miracle of life is impressive for everyone. Your toddler will be fascinated about this story. Take this curiosity and answer the repeated questions about the new baby with patience and acceptance. Show your toddler pictures of when she was a baby, and tell her about how she needed to sleep, be fed and played with. Tell her what will happen at birth, where mommy will be and when mommy will return at home with the new baby. The more you talk about it, the more your toddler will be prepared to accept and love the new baby.

Constantly reassure your toddler of your love

Your feelings for your child will not change after giving birth to the new baby, but she might understand differently. Always tell your toddler how special she is to you and how much you love her, before and after the arrival of the new-born. Spend some time playing, reading or watching TV just the two of you. Make the most out of your time together, as it will be harder to find the energy and time for one-on-one activities after the birth.

Get your toddler involved in the preparations for the new baby

If you are going to make changes in the house for the arrival of the new-born, ask your toddler to help you with the decisions. You can plan together what colour to paint the walls of the nursery room, what crib you should choose and let your toddler help you decorate. It’s a great activity to have together and it will help your toddler prepare for bonding with the future sibling. It’s a good idea to let her help you after the birth as well, with things like picking up toys, handing you wet wipes or deciding what story to read to the baby.

If you need to move your toddler to a different room or to a different bed, talk to her about this early on and make the change at least a couple of months before the baby delivery. It might take her some time to accustom with all these new changes, so it’s better to make them at separate times.