Three months ago, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy to our family. The truth is, I was not worried about going from 1-2 kids. My concern came from how our three year old daughter would adjust to the new baby. (This post contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy).
But to our surprise, she adjusted quite well. Although, I think that she is a natural big sis, a large part of her knack for new role came from grooming her and giving her incentives to do her job well. Here are a few ways that you can help your toddler adjust to a new baby.
Have an Open Dialogue
Talk to your son or daughter about the new family addition once your body starts to noticeably change. Do it early enough so that big brother or sister has time to adjust to the new idea but, not too early to in case the pregnancy does not go as planned.
Big Sister/Brother Shirts
There is something about referring to a toddler using the word “big” that is music to their ears. It’s like you just started speaking their language. Put those words on a t-shirt, and you have hit the “jackpot”! Imagine if you could enlist everyone around your toddler to help rally support in their new role as a big sibling. That’s what happens when a little person walks around wearing a “big brother or big sister” shirt. All of the a sudden, the spotlight is on them and they like it.
Buying a gift for a new big brother or sister is a way to share attention with your older child while everyone is “oohing and aweing” about the new baby. These are some toddler gift suggestions that are sure to please.
- Real Pets– Rather than getting a pet that tends to be higher maintenance like a dog or cat, consider getting your toddler a turtle or a pet fish. The last thing the family needs after a new baby is more responsibility. Although, while mom is busy spending great amounts of time with the new baby, a small pet (as mentioned above) or plant can be good to help toddlers transition and practice being caring and loving to other living beings.
- Hello Kitty Chia Pets– If you want to avoid a pet altogether, try getting your toddler a plant…perhaps even Chia Pets. Chia Pets come in so many different characters and designs these days. We bought one for our daughter after the arrival of her brother 3 months ago and she loved it!
- Books– Sibling books are a great way to help a toddler adjust to a new baby. My personal favorite is: I’m a Big Sister
- Gift from Baby– Buy your toddler son or daughter a toy, wrap it and say that it’s from the new baby. A new toy can help get everyone started off on the “right foot”.
Assign a Task
Tell your older child that you will need help in caring for the new baby. Give them an age appropriate job to do. Some tasks that toddlers can easily help with include: retrieving diapers and wipes, singing to the baby, alerting an adult if the baby spits up, and even picking out clothing. My daughter feels like such a big girl when I ask her to get things for her brother. Her posture straightens, her voice deepens, she develops a confident stride…all because I asked her to get a diaper.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any tips that you used to help your toddler get ready for a new baby? Please share in the comments below.