If it has not already happened, you may be considering having another child. As a parent of a 37 month old child, this can present a dilemma. “How will my toddler react to a new baby in the house?” …“What can I do to prepare my child for a baby brother or sister?” … “How do I make sure to pay enough attention to my toddler after I bring the baby home?” By preparing and involving your child in the process, you can make the transition much easier.
Your Child’s Development
When a new baby arrives it is a time of joy for the entire family. But is it? For a sibling, it can be a time of jealousy and confusion. Even the best prepared parent will deal with their preschool aged child’s occasional jealousy over a new sibling. After all, your child has been the centre of attention now for a long time. This is a very big change in his tiny world.
In order for your child to get used to the idea that he is going to have a baby brother or sister, you must start the acclimation process long before the baby is born. After you bring the baby home, you must keep encouraging your child to accept his new baby brother or sister. Here are some tips that can help:
- Make sure that your child understands the time frame. Use familiar references such as birthdays, Christmas, or Easter to get him to understand when the baby will be here.
- Go on a tour of the hospital with your child to show him where you will be when the baby is born. Also explain to him who will watch him while you are at the hospital.
- Tell your child all about your pregnancy with him and the day he was born.
- Watch a video or read a book about what it’s like to be a big brother.
- Let your child help decorate the baby’s room and pick out items for the baby.
- Remove your child’s crib and give him toddler bed a month or two before your bring baby home. This way you can reuse the crib without jealousy.
- Find a friend with a new baby who you can sit for. The experience will help your child understand the reality of having a baby in the house.
- Make your child feel special by giving him an added privilege: “Big brothers get to stay up later than little sisters!”
- Talk about what a good big brother your child is and make sure that he overhears your discussion. This will make him feel proud.
- After baby comes home, make it a point to spend quality time alone with your preschooler on a daily basis. Also, if you are playing with your child and the baby begins to cry, don’t jump up right away if you can help it. Stay there with your child for a minute or two before you go to the baby. This tells him that you are still strongly connected.