Your family is expanding and there is most likely lots of excitement and joy, but that won’t be without its ups and downs.
In my experience, transitioning from a family of 3 to 4 was possibly one of the most challenging times of my life – BUT – we got through it!
If your family will be growing soon too, here are a few tips to help prepare your toddler for the new baby.
- Make it a learning experience
To help your toddler understand and visualize what’s happening inside your tummy, read books about newborns or pregnancy to him or her and look at pictures of babies in utero.
This will help your toddler get a sense of what is to come so that it won’t be a complete shock for them once the baby arrives.
- Talk about the baby
Don’t let your toddler be flabbergasted when you waltz in at home with a new sibling.
Begin the conversation about the new baby with your toddler, at least as soon as you speak to family and friends about your pregnancy and the new baby.
Your toddler will need a few months to process this information about the upcoming changes.
- Your words
I can assure you that your toddler will be very tuned in to your attitude and conversation about your baby. (I wish I’d known this back then).When you speak about your pregnancy and birth, remember to emphasize how blessed, exciting, and wonderful it is for your family to be receiving this gift of new life.
Don’t focus on any inconveniences or difficulties that you may face after the baby arrives, as your attitude may just be transferred on to your toddler.
- Give your toddler an important role
During those first few weeks after bringing baby home, let your toddler “help” you. Let them feel as if they are taking on a new, very important role as an older sibling. If your toddler loves animals, remind him or her that the new baby won’t know a thing about animals and will need a big brother or sister to teach him or her.
Basically, emphasise how special it will be to be a big brother or sister, and how the baby will want to do everything that their brother or sister does.
- Share stories about your toddler
As you lead up to the birth, tell your toddler about the night that they were born. Speak about how excited you were to meet your baby.
You could explain just how precious and beautiful he or she looked when you first got to hold them.
My daughter absolutely loved hearing about those days (and still does). By sharing their birth story with them, it will remind them that their story is just as special as the up and coming one.
Luckily, you’ll have several months to prepare before the baby arrives so remind your child how much they are loved by mama and daddy…and how much the new baby will love them, too!
Photo credit: Lizelle Krige Photography