I’m not going to repeat what dozens of articles say on dealing with a new baby because there are tons of resources out there to the point of being overwhelming. I also haven’t experienced it for myself so I can’t expect you all to listen to advice on a subject in which I have no practice. Suffice it to say, I did do the leg work for you and talked to some of my favorite and knowledgeable mamas, educators, and physicians to bring you this list of resources and tips. I hope they help!
One of my favorite authors, doctors, women, is Dr. Laura Markham who wrote “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kid.” She also has a great podcast on sound cloud that I love listening to. She wrote a great article on helping your young tot transition to a new baby.
- Your goal is to get your child excited about the baby, and feeling connected to it, even before it is born.
- During the birth, you’ll want to make sure your toddler doesn’t feel abandoned. Having mom vanish to the hospital is often traumatic for little ones, and makes it more difficult for them to welcome the new baby when mom finally shows up with him.
- Reassure your child with your words and actions that you adore him, and be sure to spend “special” time just with him each day.
Positive Parenting Connection also has some great pointers if you try and follow a positive parenting approach. I really like their approach on the subject of “presents vs. presence.”
Material rewards don’t necessarily have a huge place in positive parenting. Presence of a parent is always a much better alternative to physical presents.
But this is a time when your time may be stretched thin. And you simply cannot give your older child as much attention as you might like. A few presents may be helpful, if timed and chosen well.
For instance, you could have your older child choose a snuggly blanket for your baby as a “welcome to the family” present. And then you could offer a present for your older one (preferably something that he’s wanted for a long time, but you’ve been holding off on) as a “hello” present from the baby.
Every time visiting family and friends get presents for the little one, make sure it is either shared by the older one, or there is a small present for him. At the very least, take the time to explain to your older child that he received a lot of presents when he was a baby and share stories of the ones he was most attached to. Your older one may be having a hard task of adjusting to a new situation and simply cannot be expected to resolve the parity in presents on his own.
Special big brother/ big sister t-shirts and matching outfits can also go a long way in promoting harmony instead of competition.
With a little bit of thought, you can ease the new baby into your toddler’s little world with a far less push back.
That said, there is one important thing you must remember – you will likely NEVER be able to entirely eliminate sibling rivalry.
RevDoula, Stephanie Spritzer has a great handout for her clients that she was awesome enough to share with me! This is a great, easy to print, handout that you can keep with you. This handout even has a book list for different age groups to help kids of any age transition!
I hope this transition is easy for our family and I’ll let you all know how it goes in a couple months! I hope these resources are helpful. 🙂