How to get your toddler to accept your new baby
There is a 3 year age gap between my younger brother and me and my mother has sworn to high heaven that 3 years was the perfect age to introduce a sibling to the family. “You were easy to manage because I could ask you do to things and help and you would understand what I’d need from you”.
Except what my mother failed to mention was that unlike my 3-year-old son, I was actually a helpful child who would sit still occasionally. My son is a firecracker. I love him to the end of the world but he is such a busy boy, who is still very much a mommy’s boy when he wants to be.
There was definitely a period of adjustment and 5 months later we’re still dealing with a bit of jealousy every now and again. Unfortunately, I only have two hands.
So here are the things we did to help with the transition with going from one kid to two.
1. Talk about the baby beforehand
When I was pregnant we spoke to him about the baby a lot. He wasn’t too keen on feeling her move in my tummy but we told him that he was going to be a big brother.
Luckily he loves babies and whenever we came across a baby he would gravitate towards it and just be so cute. We’d ask him if he wanted a baby to come live with us and remind him that he was getting one soon.
Today he still refers to her as his baby and he is fiercely protective over her even though he resents her attention-hogging at times.
2. Keep them informed
In the weeks leading up to my C-section, we told him that soon mommy would be going to the hospital to fetch the baby and he would come visit us soon after. So when we left him to sleep over at his aunt’s the night before I was booked in, he was absolutely fine with it. In fact he was so excited, he chased me out of the house to go fetch “his baby”.
3. Get them a gift from the baby
I'm not sure if this worked, to be honest. He wasn't really jealous of all the baby clothes and things she got and as far as toys went, he definitely has the lion's share. This one really depends on the kind of kid you have. But our son gets so many things from his grandparents all the time that this didn't really make an impact on him.
4. Concentrate on your older kid
This is the hard one with a newborn around because they’re so physically demanding – and so is a toddler. But a toddler has additional emotional needs that can’t be ignored, especially since a new little person has suddenly dropped in and taken his throne. So whenever I wasn’t feeding the baby, I was spending time with my son, even if it was cuddling on the couch watching Blaze and the Monster Machines.
5. Include your toddler where possible
I try to include my son wherever possible but he is like a tiny wrecking ball in miniature. We tried to include him in bathtime, but he splashed water on the bed. I tried to get him to help at nappy changing time, but he ran away with the nappy and tried to stick his fingers in the Sudocrem.
But he loves his sister and now that she is more animated, he loves making her laugh. He also scolds her like an old man when she pulls his hair. His favourite thing of all time though is to bring her into our bed, lie next to her and make me take pictures of them. Whether she wants to or not.
Do you have any more tips for making this transition easier? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we could publish them.