Helping your two year old to adjust to a new sibling

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Many toddlers are excited at the prospect of a new sibling, but many also change their minds once the baby arrives, and their lives change. As with an older child of any age, how well your two year old adapts to a new sibling will depend a lot on their own personality. Self assured, outgoing children might adapt faster, and more withdrawn, sensitive children may take longer.
 
Your two year old may regress into ‘babyish’ behaviour, insisting on wearing nappies or drinking from a bottle, or may even act aggressively, snatching your baby’s toys or pulling on him or her. You need to stop this aggressive behaviour and the best way to do that is to tell your child that hitting (or any other aggressive action) hurts and that your child needs to talk about his or her feelings instead. Alternatively, you could give your two year old a pillow or another option that he or she can hit instead.
 
Letting your child help, either by performing tasks, like passing you items when you change the baby, or making decisions, such as what clothes the baby should wear, can all make acceptance a little easier for your older child. Spending time together, just watching the baby, and perhaps talking about how your older child was just like your new baby can also help, as can reading stories or making up your own about families.
If you notice that your child is feeling sad or lonely, you need to acknowledge those feelings and talk about them. You will also need to make time to spend alone with your older child. Play games together, do things that you’ve always enjoyed doing together or take a special outing together.
 
If you find that your older child chooses to ignore your new baby, don’t force the issue. That’s just how some children cope with change and it’s best to let your child deal with it on their own. Whatever you do, don’t try to force your child to accept your new baby. You’ll only cause him or her to resent your new baby even more.

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