Inside: Discover the best tips on how to prepare a toddler for a new baby. Before baby # 2 arrives, you will want your first child to feel ready to welcome their sibling. These simple tips can help make the process much easier!
Things have been so busy around here lately (blog & home) that I haven’t been able to share some exciting news. I’m pregnant! Again! And our new baby’s due date is just around the corner this summer.
Since the moment I found out I was pregnant I have been scouring the internet for any tips on how to prepare a toddler for a new baby. Turns out, our little almost-2-year-old already has some incredible instincts of her own.
Are you on Pinterest? Let’s be Pinterest friends! I have a whole board dedicated to All Things Baby & Toddler.
Before the new baby arrives…
I highly recommend purchasing Dr. Laura Markham’s book, Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings. I am 100% serious when I say that this book changed my life as a mom of two.
It’s easy to think that your toddler will naturally adjust to their new daily life, and it’s a mistake to think that it will be simple or come naturally. Remember that your toddler was a baby (or still sort-of is) not that long ago. They had you all to themselves and now they have to share you – their favorite person in the whole world!
Our (Me & You!) New Mom of Two Game Plan
- Go easy on yourself
- Go easy on your toddler
- Eat frozen meals or takeout for dinner, everyone will live
- Let the laundry pile up (this is a tough one for me) it will be there tomorrow
- Shower when your partner gets home (you won’t regret it)
- Go easy on yourself! Worth repeating.
Alright, now it’s time to dive into the details on how to get your toddler ready to become a big sibling!
How to Prepare a Toddler for a New Baby
1. Belly Talk
Teaching your toddler about personal space can be tough. They thoroughly enjoy crawling on your head, kicking you in the face, and “playing” with your hair (just me?).
So when you become pregnant, you suddenly find it pertinent to teach them to respect your changing body.
One easy way you can do this is by talking to your toddler about your growing belly and explaining to them that “Mommy is growing baby sister (or brother) and we have to be very careful around her belly.” Simple as that.
You’d be surprised that after hearing this 87 times a day, every day, they really start to get the picture. This also helps to send the message that one day soon, there will be an actual little sibling around.
My toddler loves to lay on my belly and talk to baby sister. She is even starting to understand that sometimes mommy needs to sit or not pick her up because of my growing belly. Sometimes she’ll even point to my husband’s stomach and say “no baby sister” – she gets it.
More Resources for New Moms
- How to Survive Morning Sickness
- How to Get Your Newborn Baby to Breastfeed
- What I Did When My 6 Month Old Refused to Nap
2. Baby Talk
But not the kind of baby talk you’re thinking of. Although it wasn’t so long ago that your toddler was a baby themselves, it’s not exactly like they can remember what it’s like to be a baby – all the crying and constant feeding and changing…and the crying.
So how to prepare them for this?
Get them a baby doll and teach them how to take care of it! You’d might even be surprised to discover the little things they innately know how to do without even being told. We also love this “taking care of baby” set from Melissa & Doug, it helps the whole process feel more real to them.
Here are some simple tasks any toddler can learn:
- Feed baby with a little baby bottle
- Pretend that baby is crying and then rock or sing to her
- Tuck her in at naptime and bedtime
- Pretend to change baby’s diaper
Then, when the new baby arrives, you can have your toddler take care of their baby right alongside you and their new sibling.
My toddler has even begun to understand that when a baby cries they need “milk” or they’re “sleepy”. The more you reinforce these concepts before the new baby comes, the easier it will be to remind your toddler of these things once the baby arrives.
You may also find it helpful to watch a show like Daniel Tiger with your toddler. There are several episodes where Daniel learns all about becoming a big brother and what it means to have a new sibling. We found this to be very useful!
3. Book Talk
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and toddlers are visual learners – big time. That’s why I’m currently obsessed with these personalized picture books from I See Me! We got our toddler The Super Incredible Big Sister book and needless to say, she is super excited about it.
It came with this adorable little medal for her to wear and since we gave her the book, she never wants to take the medal off. We also plan to have her wear her medal when she comes to meet her new sister at the birth center.
Setting your toddler up for success as a big brother or sister means instilling confidence in their abilities to be a big sibling, while also allowing them to feel like they are still your baby – because they are! This is a tricky balance to strike and I will take all of the help I can get, especially from this amazing book.
As you can see, she loves to sit on mommy or daddy’s lap and read her Super Big Sister book. The book came personalized with her name and a little dedication page from Mom & Dad, so she really knows how important she is.
Since we have been engaging in so many conversations with her about her baby sister, this book has become the perfect reminder of what it means to be a good big sister and how important that role is for her.
- One winner chosen at random will receive a free personalized copy of My Very Own Name (click the title to see the book!)
- This giveaway is only open to residents of the US & Canada
- All 3 tasks must be completed to enter
- The giveaway will end on Sunday, April 30th, 2017 at midnight EST.
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This post was created in partnership with I See Me! Books. I was provided with a free copy of The Super Incredible Big Sister book in exchange for a review, however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. You can read our full disclosure policy, here.