If you’re in your second pregnancy, you may be thinking how to prepare a toddler for a sibling. Big changes are coming for the whole family!
And that, of course, includes your first born as well.
All these changes can be a bit difficult for your son or daughter. Up until now, they were the centre of all attention, and that’s going to change. They are going to have to share their status as the most important and central person of the family, and they probably won’t like that.
Fortunately, the big change won’t come suddenly, and you have a whole pregnancy ahead of you to help your toddler understand what’s going to happen. Don’t miss the following lines if you want to learn about preparing toddler for new baby!
How to prepare a toddler for a sibling: When to do it
So how do we pick the moment to break the big news? Well, there isn’t an exact time to do so, but most experts agree on waiting until the second trimester to do it. As you know, there are many things that can go wrong in a pregnancy, and the first trimester is the most delicate. Once you are in the second semester, the risky times are mostly over, and it’s a good moment to tell your little one.
However, there are some cases when it may be worth considering doing it early. If you start showing off earlier, your kid may be wondering why is your body changing. Or if you have a bad case of morning sickness or pregnancy is being hard on you for other reasons – you don’t want your toddler to think that you’re sick!
When preparing toddler for baby, keep in mind that your first-born should be one of the first people to know – or, if they’re not, make sure that those who know don’t tell him before you do! A new sibling is a huge change, and your little one will want to know from you.
How to prepare a toddler for a sibling: How to do it
There isn’t a correct way of preparing toddler for sibling. You know your child better than anybody else, so you are the best person to approach the issue for sure. But keep in mind that it’s always good to be honest: tell him that he’s going to have a younger brother or sister, and see how he reacts. Maybe they’ll want to know more information, like when is baby sibling going to arrive.
Depending on how old your child is, you will need to approach the subject in a different manner. Toddlers may not fully understand what this means, so using pictures of when they were babies may be of help. Older children might start to feel jealous, so it’s good to explain that the newborn will require lots of attention because he’ll be very little and vulnerable, and won’t be able to anything on his own. Then, make sure to explain how you won’t love them any less or they won’t be any less important for you and the rest of the family.
If your child is older, you can also explain that he or she’s going to have a role as the older sibling, so they feel like an important and responsible part of the family. Older children may want to know more about how the baby got inside mummy’s belly, so get ready to have the talk! There are plenty of books that can help with it, but make sure to explain it yourself and answer their questions.
How to prepare a toddler for a sibling: Dos and don’ts
Here you have a few tips, dos and don’t’s that may help you break the news to your first born:
- Keep it simple… Sometimes, less is more! Don’t give your toddler a detailed explanation on what it means to be pregnant or how the baby’s growing. You can just tell them that the new baby will soon come, and that that’s a good thing.
- And let them ask: But if they want to know more, try to answer their questions in a way that they understand.
- Show pictures and tell stories about their own birth: If your toddler is curious about the new sibling and the process of pregnancy, you can show them pictures of when you were pregnant, or from when they were as little as the new baby will be.
- Get them involved: In order to make your toddler feel happy for the arrival of the new baby, you can get them involved in the process. Ask them about what colour should you paint the baby’s room, or about baby names. It may be a good idea to give him some options, just in case he comes up with crazy colours and name ideas! You can also let him touch your belly when the baby starts moving.
- Don’t tell them that you feel sick: Your little one will want you to be happy and well, so if your pregnancy is being hard on you, try not to show too much.
- Spend time with him: Especially before birth, since things are about to change! It’s a good idea to strengthen your bond with your first-born, so he or she feels close enough to you.
- Don’t forbid touching or using the baby essentials: Your new baby won’t even realise if their older sibling is playing with their stuff, and not letting your toddler use it could make him feel displaced.
- Don’t wait too much if the preparations affect your toddler: If you need to change his room or move him out of his crib, do so early so all the changes don’t come at once. He’s more likely to feel displaced if you do.
Some hospitals offer sibling lessons for older children. There, they can learn lots of things about the baby and about pregnancy, and they can talk about how they feel about becoming an older sibling.
Well, now you have some information on how to prepare a toddler for a sibling – are you ready?