Having a second baby when you already have a toddler can be challenging. But especially if your toddler is jealous of how his position in the family has changed.
One young mother recalls her toddler’s solution to the new baby predicament. “Why don’t we just build him a nice dog house in the back yard right next to the dog. That way, the two can play together.”
Even worse, some toddlers become so upset that they can’t leave their toddlers with the baby alone, even for a few minutes. They fear the toddler might hurt the baby.
What’s a parent to do? Will it just pass, or are their definite tips to help?
Here are some ideas.
Playacting to prepare your toddler
Pediatricians and child behaviorists suggest, particularly for young toddlers, they don’t even have a clue their mom is pregnant. Or what that means.
One suggestion is to buy a baby doll and then play-act with your toddler. Perhaps by using a blanket, demonstrate how a baby will emerge from your womb.
Once your newborn is “born,” let the child hold it demonstrating how gentle they need to be with the “baby.”
You might even extend the reality of your “unborn child” by spending a few minutes a week asking your toddler what shall we name it. Be prepared for the dogs’or cat’s name or their suggestion that he or she be called “Sponge Bob,” but it gets them involved.
It may take a dozen sessions of play-acting, but gradually your child will get used to the fact that a newborn will come into the house. And not only that, that your toddler will be a big help in welcoming him or her to the family.
Praise your toddler for positive behavior
Even in your play acting, both you and your husband should get in the habit of praising their toddler for positive behavior, whether it be bringing mom or dad a diaper for the baby, or giving the baby a back rub, praise often.
The more praise you give, the more your toddler figures out this sibling thing isn’t such a bad deal.
Naturally, one of the reasons toddlers act up is they figure dedicated “me time” is over. Convince your toddler that is not the case.
Even if you are exhausted, carve out 15-minutes for your toddler as you put the baby down for a nap. Tell them straight out, “now that the baby is asleep, the grown-ups can play.” Read them a story, play a game with them, such as hide and seek. Fix the two of you a mutual treat, such as ice cream.
You might even reinforce the idea your toddler is special by extending their bedtime or some other minor thing to express your appreciation for their help.
Don’t blame it on the baby
Without realizing it, parents make the baby the bad guy. “No, we can’t go to the park because the baby needs a nap.” “Be quiet. The baby is sleeping,”
Do that, and your toddler will be just as well-wishing the baby did sleep outside with the dog.
Instead, reinforce their patience by expressing your appreciation for them waiting and tell them, “in a little while, we’ll do something special.
Act quickly when the child is rough with the baby
Get a time out chair in a corner and use it. The minute the child acts rough with the baby put them in the time-out chair. Tell them they can get up as soon as they agree to act nice with the baby.
Be very specific with your words, such as, “We only act nice with our hands to the baby.”
Don’t act surprised if your toddler reverts to wanting to be a baby
It does happen quite often. Toddlers who seem to be two going on 13, suddenly revert to wanting to be a baby. Don’t make a big deal about it. It’s fairly natural.
One thing you can do is take out your photo album and go down memory lane about your child’s infant past.
Explain how little she was, how difficult it was to get her to sleep, and how relieved you were when he or she grew out of diapers. Or that they became potty trained.
Be sure and show him or her the photos of the first eating, spitting out food all over the place. Then ask them, “are you sure you want to go back do those days when you only ate baby food or couldn’t play with toys? ”
Give your child a visit to someone else’s baby
One successful tip for preparing your toddler how to act around a baby is a home visit to someone else who has one.
Explain how gentle the mother is with her baby, and perhaps even with the permission of the mother, allow your toddler to hold it. Then explain that the reason you are there for a visit is that you are expecting a baby of your own.
Explain a reason why you are having a baby
One toddler, on being told their parents were having a baby, quietly went into her room and packed a bag along with her favorite teddy bear. When asked where she was going, she explained she was going to find new parents who needed her.
Don’t let your child feel second best, but rather emphasize great reasons such as we worried that you might be lonely as you grow up, so we decided to bring you a brother or sister.
When children feel that nothing was missing in the family, and that’s why you are having a baby, they feel more secure.
Hopefully, these tips will help, but just remember, for 99 percent of toddlers, this too shall pass if they are a little resistant at first.