What a super exciting stage, making the decision to grow your family and have another child. Preparing your toddler for the arrival of a new brother or sister is a really important part of easing into this new amazing chapter.
To help with this amazing part of the journey, we have collated some creative ideas to help this transition. These suggestions build both a sense of inclusion and excitement for your toddler, as they adjust to the idea of what your family will soon become—a tribe of four or more.
With young toddlers, the idea of a baby can sometimes be too abstract to grasp. A fun way to bring it to life with terminology they will understand, is with picture storybooks. There are some really amazing book options to help bring the concept to life for a toddler, we've listed a couple below:
- There’s A House Inside My Mummy by Giles Andreae—a beautiful story of a little boy waiting for his younger brother or sister to arrive. The journey is shared with humour and simple rhyming text, making it a lovely tale to introduce the idea of a soon to be sibling.
- There’s Going To Be A Baby by John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury is another great story of a little boy who is adjusting to the pending arrival of his new sibling, told with humour and insight.
Another idea for your toddler is to take them through photos of their own baby days. Show them photos from when you were pregnant to help them understand they were once in the same place as their sibling. This also opens up a great way to explain that new babies sleep and cry a lot but they need us to love and look after them.
Incorporating your toddler into the pregnancy is a really good option. Bringing your toddler to one of your pre-natal visits so they can hear the heartbeat of their soon to be brother or sister, involve them in the naming process and encourage them to pat your growing belly are all lovely ways for them to bond.
If you empower them to help shape the new space for their sibling by involving them in the purchase and choice of items, or the decoration of the nursery they will also feel included and needed as mummy or daddy’s little helper.
As D-day draws closer, making arrangements for where your toddler will stay during your time in hospital is very important. They need to feel happy and comfortable with the person they are staying with, especially if they have never stayed overnight without you. Consider creating a small book of special family photos which they can keep with them on the night/s you’re apart. After the birth, arrange their hospital visit as soon as possible. Greet them with open arms, if possible—your little one in the arms of dad—so they feel welcomed into the space with a familiar sense of place.
A very sweet traditional idea used by lots of parents, is a buying or making a special gift for your toddler from the new arrival. This ice–breaker will help to fill your toddler with a feeling of celebration, reinforcing the feeling that they still hold a special place in your family.
At home, it is super important to involve your toddler in the daily care of the new little human. An extra pair of hands will come in very useful and will help them feel important and included. Ensure you also put some time aside to have some special one-on-one time whilst your new arrival is sleeping, to keep your relationship a central focus.
While you may be concerned about your toddler feeling upset by the new addition, if you listen to their feelings and support them through all the different stages, jealousy or confusion, your children will form a special bond that will be a delight to watch as they both grow.