It’s the final countdown here…in a couple weeks we welcome our second little bundle of joy! Although I’ve been in full “nesting” mode prepping old baby clothes and gear for re-use, feels like there’s still a bit to do…especially in terms of preparing our almost 2 year-old toddler to be a big brother!
I am a bit scared to see that first reaction. When our guy sees mommy holding another baby…and then sees it happening all the time! I know he won’t be happy at first and it will probably take a bit of getting used to, so I’ve been looking for ways to make the introduction a little easier.
Although it’s still a work-in-progress for us (and may be tough for young toddlers to truly understand the concept of a new baby)…below are a few tips that have helped make the transition a little less traumatic.
1. Practicing with a Baby Doll
One of the MAIN things we wanted to teach our toddler about babies (especially newborns) was the need to be nice and gentle. As any boy would, ours likes to rough-house and doesn’t always play nice. So we knew having a baby doll to practice on would at least get us moving in the right direction.
I used a Cabbage Patch baby boy to help our little guy practice being gentle. Of course, at first he would throw the doll across the room and smack it every now and then. But he gradually began to gently cradle the baby and give it kisses! I thought it was so precious and hope he will continue to practice this type of behavior for when the real baby arrives!
2. Talking about Mommy’s Belly
Once my belly really popped, I started to let our toddler carefully examine and feel around. I told him that there was a “baby growing” inside mommy and tried to reinforce that idea by showing pictures of babies. He would pat my belly each day it grew and eventually started to kiss it goodnight!
Although I’m sure he still doesn’t know a baby is coming out, he clearly can see the big belly growing before his eyes. Talking to him about what was going on and letting him be a part of the process really helped to set the tone.
3. Reading Intro to Baby Books
This is one of the easiest things you can try to help prepare your kid for a new sibling. Toddlers love reading/being read to, so it’s a no-brainer to grab an intro to baby book.
For some reason, our toddler was fascinated by all my pregnancy prep books around the house (whoops!) and started to really enjoy seeing the pictures of babies in bellies. That’s when I realized I had to get him a fun and age-appropriate illustrated book to read. One of my favorites was the Hello Baby! book by Lizzie Rockwell. I love the cute little story line, colorful pages and images of the baby growing in the womb.
4. Giving a Gift from the Baby
Whether it’s a teddy bear or one of your child’s favorite farm animals, having a gift ready to give your toddler as if it were from the new baby is so important. It’s natural for your toddler to start feeling a little jealous when he sees a bunch of new stuff in the house that he’s not allowed to touch. So a special gift(s) wrapped up for his new role as “big brother” may help him adjust a tad better.
I plan on keeping the gift at the hospital to give right when our guy comes to visit. That way he can better make the connection that he has a special role to play in the new baby’s life!
What tips have helped you prepare a toddler for a new baby in the house!