If you are expecting your second child, you may be anxious about how your toddler will welcome your new bundle of joy. With all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the new baby, your firstborn may feel outcast and react negatively. It doesn’t have to be this way though. While it can take some time for your toddler to adjust and transition to having a new mini human in his life, it can be done. Here are some ways to help a toddler adjust to a newborn sibling.
Make sure your toddler is always involved
This can mean giving him special jobs to help him feel wanted or important. When the baby comes, have him interact with the baby. For example, with supervision, place the baby on his lap so he can “watch over her.” You can also include your toddler by asking for his advice. Ask him if he wants to be involved or have him make a choice in the baby’s outfit. Again, the involvement will help to alleviate any chances of him feeling left out and wanting to lash out because of it.
Prep him for his role by reading books to him about it
There are plenty of children’s books that can help you explain to him what his new role will be as the older sibling. These books often have the scenario where the toddler is initially resentful at the new baby’s arrival, which can help your child to relate to it and perhaps understand it better.
Don’t ignore him when he tells you his feelings
Don’t yell or scold your toddler if he tells you how he feels, it can lead to his behavior getting worse. If you notice his mood is different or if he tells you directly what his feelings are, comfort him and let him know you understand his feelings and give him the attention he needs. That may be all he needs to feel better.
Make sure to have one on one time with him
If you always include the baby in the picture, your toddler can get increasingly jealous. Instead, set aside some time where you two can both together without any interruptions or distractions. It makes him feel important and also displays to him that you still love him very much and that he is special to you.
Don’t force him to do anything
If you try to involve him and all you are getting is push back or brushed off, don’t take it personally. It can be his own way of coping until he feels better. Give him some time to come around. If he doesn’t or continues his behavior, speak to your child and ask him what’s wrong or why he’s behaving the way he is. Again, do not scold him. It can only make him feel rejected more since he feels he’s not doing anything wrong. Be gentle and give him the time he needs to adjust to a new person in his life.