The mix of excitement and nervousness when preparing for a second baby is totally normal. As you prepare for a new baby, make sure your toddler knows they are still special and valued and nothing could ever change that. Special gifts and one-on-one time can help, and so can letting your child feel they’re an important member of the team to welcome the new family members. Keep reading for 15 great ideas on how to prepare your toddler for the new baby.
1. New Sibling Books
Stock up on some fun children books about having a new baby at the library and read them to your kids throughout the pregnancy.
2. A Gift For The Older Sibling When Baby Is Born
Kids tend to think a day is special when out of the ordinary acknowledgment or a gift is given. Your child is sure to think fondly of the new baby and consider this a special time if you give him or her a gift “from the baby” on the newborn’s birthday. Consider giving them a new toy, book, or stuffed animal to comfort, entertain, and make them feel special during this time.
3. Include Them In Decisions
When it comes to decisions like how to set up the nursery, names/middle names for the baby, what color the nursery will be, etc. have your child help. You not only help them feel included, but you also give them the opportunity to create fun memories of being involved.
4. Let Them Help With The Preparation
Let your older kids help pick out items for the baby to make them feel involved in the process. Discuss their relationship with baby and allow them to add ideas to decision making
5. Talk About Your Baby Often
It’s easy for little ones to forget the sibling is on the way, so bring it up often. Let your children feel the baby kicking in the womb and talk about feeling hiccups and other movements. This will ease the adjustment period since your child will be used to hearing about their new sibling.
6. Make Sure Your Child Has A Familiar Environment
When you head off to the hospital, make sure your children are staying with someone they know well. It’s best if they can stay at home and sleep in their own beds. The transition will be big enough without throwing off their environment and routine.
7. Give Your Children Responsibility
Don’t let your older children get cast off to the side in the midst of newborn chaos. Let them help with tasks like cleaning bottles, getting new diapers, and even swaddling the baby. This will give them a sense of the importance of their cooperation and help.
8. Individual Quality Time
Even if it’s just for a half hour, it will do a world of good to take your children out for one-on-one time. Resist the urge to put all of your attention on the baby, and make room for quality eye contact and conversation with your older kids.
9. Allow Your Child To Get Up Close
Teach your children common safety measures when holding a newborn. This will help them learn, grow and will help them start to create a bond with their new sibling. If you can teach them how to hold and play with their sibling safely, this could help them feel more comfortable.
10. Consider Your Daily Routine
Think about your daily routine and the quality time you want to spend with your older child or children. There are so many new baby tech products, like our Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor, that increase safety and convenience that can help you spend time with your other kids without you having to constantly worry about the baby.
11. Spend Quality Time With Your Older Kids Every Day
Just like you do with one-on-one dates, make time at home to pull yourself away from the newborn to give siblings attention throughout the day. Play blocks on the floor, enjoy throwing a ball outside, or enjoy lunch while the baby sleeps. Try to keep any traditions you had before the baby came, like bedtime stories and afternoon snacks.
12. Let The Little Things Go
As you already know, things get busy when a newborn is in the home. Make sure to keep priorities straight, and don’t worry if the dishes pile up. Give yourself a break when overwhelmed and realize that you are doing the best you can. As you settle into your routine with a new member of the family, things will start going more smoothly.
13. Ask For Help When You Need It
Having a second baby can be stressful, and it’s important that you ask for help when you need it. Depending on their age you could ask your child to help get diapers, put away baby clothes etc. This will help them feel important and needed. You may consider asking family members and friends for help with meals when you first come home from the hospital, or to watch the kids so you can get some much-needed sleep.
14. Stick To A Routine
Young children thrive on routine, so make sure to stick to a similar schedule each day, including naps, bedtime, meals, etc. Sticking to a routine will help the whole family, including your children, adjust more easily to having a new family member.
15. Get Some Fresh Air
When all else fails, get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Going for a walk or heading to the park can rejuvenate both you and your kids when anxiety and stress are on the rise.
Adding a baby to the home can be an adjustment for everyone in the family, and toddlers especially may have some difficulty coming to terms with the new baby. But, by following the above tips, you can nurture your bond between you, your children, and the newest family member.