How to help your toddler adjust to the birth of a sibling?
- by Mrunal Rashinkar
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Having a second child needs double the preparation for the parents-to-be, as this time around they not only have to prepare for the arrival of a baby but also have to manage a toddler who needs to be well-acquainted with the concept of ‘sibling’.
While most of the sibling pairs grow up to build a strong inter-personal bond that is a mix of rivalry, love, fun, tears & everything that builds a relationship, you have to sow the ‘sibling seed’ right, so that they fully appreciate this sacred bond.
Having a sibling encourages kids to share, care and protect one another. And, the initial years play a vital role in building a solid friendship between the siblings that enables them to understand that they are bonded by more than just secrets and stories.
Here are some pointers to prepare your toddler for the arrival of a sibling:
Talk to your toddler
If your toddler is old enough to understand verbal communication, you can talk to him about upcoming changes, whether it’s about the mother’s body or arrival of an additional member in the family. Explain to them why they should not expect the baby to play with them just after being born. Do not introduce the baby as their playmate.
Involve your toddler in baby chores
Involving your toddler in easy baby chores will develop them to be a caring and giving sibling. Simple tasks like folding baby’s clothes or fetching the baby’s toys will solidify the toddler-baby relationship. It will also help the toddler understand that the baby is their responsibility too.
Share toddler’s tasks
With the mother’s limitations in terms of her involvement in the toddler’s life immediately after the baby’s birth, the family members need to actively step in and take care of the toddler’s tasks. This can be done way before the birth of the baby, so that your little one won’t have to undergo too much change in the routine later. Explain it to them why becoming independent with their daily tasks is a part of growing up, and they should not take it as a ‘punishment’ of being an elder sibling.
Attend to your toddler daily
Sometimes toddlers feel threatened if mothers are not giving attention to them and they tend to the sibling as a rival. To avoid this, make a habit to talk to your toddler every day and ask him about their day and feelings.
Plan outdoor & indoor activities
Plan outing and activities with your toddler so that his growth and enjoyment is not hampered. Even if both parents cannot accompany to these activities, one parent can attend to toddler’s needs and give them ample time & attention.
Make sleeping arrangements of toddler
If your toddler is accustomed to sleeping with the mother, try to break his habit by making him sleep with his father or alone. With the constant feeding rounds of the baby, your toddler won’t get enough sleep and that will make him cranky.
Don’t treat your toddler as second parent
Share some tasks like choosing dress for the baby, or watching the baby for a few seconds, but do not leave them unsupervised with the baby. Appreciate their contribution in baby chores, but do not punish them for their small failures. That might distance them from the baby.
Avoid comparisons between the siblings
There should never be any comparison between the toddler & the baby, as it might affect the toddler emotionally & psychologically. Appreciate their individuality and give them their own independent space for growth & development.
And the most important thing is that the mother should actively ask for help, anywhere and for anything, as managing two children is not easy. Also, look for various classes & tutorials available online and in hospitals which focus solely on the well-being of the second-time mother. Use the Internet wisely and read whatever you can about toddler’s health and preparation needed before arrival of the baby.
Mothers and toddlers are welcome at Aptech Montana International Preschool to be a part of the ‘Toddler Program’. The program encourages bonding between the mothers and children through different types of educational and fun learning activities.