How to prepare your toddler for a new baby
A new baby whilst totally exciting, is a huge deal for your first-born toddler.
Mums and dads hope that their children will share in the joy of a new little life but the reality is that feelings of jealousy and insecurity often reign supreme – and it’s a parent’s job to allay those fears. (FYI: A two-year age gap can create strong feelings of jealousy. It can be easier when the gap is 15 months, or four years or more.)
No matter how well you know your child, it’s difficult to predict how he or she will react when the baby is born. That said; there are things you can do to prepare your children for the new arrival. Child Psychologist Dr Richard Woolfson has five top tips on how to break the news gently:
1. Tell your toddler in advance that he’s going to have a new sibling but don’t tell him too soon or he’ll get bored with the idea.
2. Timing matters. Introduce the idea of the new baby around the fifth or sixth month, when he’ll notice your bump.
3. Relax. Tell him calmly, and be prepared to answer of he asks where the baby comes from.
4. Pitch the conversation at a suitable level. For instance, you could say “I’ve got a surprise. We’re going to have a new baby soon. I’m so excited.”
5. Let him feel your bump, so he can feel the baby’s activity too.
Involve your toddler in the preparations! If he doesn’t handle the change well in the beginning, he is sure to adapt and will probably end up taking his ‘big brother’ role very seriously.
Source: Practical Parenting & Pregnancy (December) p102
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