How to Help your Toddler Adjust to a Newborn Sibling
Except with a firstborn, the arrival of every new baby means helping siblings to adjust. If a sibling is a toddler, a little extra time and thought may be needed, to assure a healthy transition. Toddlers are often unable to understand exactly what’s happening. They may resent having their place as baby of the family usurped. The following tips can help keep everyone happy.
How do Toddlers React to a New Baby?
There are different personality types. The way your toddler reacts to a new baby in the house depends largely on his temperament. Some children adjust rather easily while others experience deep regression, as a way of coping. Even if a toddler has been off the bottle for a year and potty-trained for months, he may begin insisting on drinking from a bottle and wearing diapers again. This is perfectly normal, and it’s best to indulge him.
Another sign that a toddler is struggling is that he may snatch the new sibling’s toys or pull on her arm. Aggression should be dealt with without delay. Handling aggressive behavior in this type of instance should be done firmly but gently, at the same time. A time out for being rough with the baby may be appropriate. Taking away a television privilege may be more effective. The point is to make it clear that there are unwanted consequences to such behavior.
Tips to Help a Toddler Accept his Newborn Sibling
Give your Toddler Special Jobs
It’s best to start early with your strategy for helping your toddler adjust well when the new baby arrives. Help him understand that he will have special jobs with the baby. It’s always a good thing to give children age-appropriate responsibilities, anyway, and you may be surprised at how big a help your toddler can be. The following are some ideas for your little helper:
- Tell him to speak softly to the baby when she cries or gently pat her on the back.
- During bath time, give him the job of soaping the baby’s legs.
- When it’s diaper change time, let your toddler fetch the diaper and change of clothing.
- Let him sit next to you and hold the baby across both of your laps. Another way he might hold her is with pillows propped on each side. Stay close, though, because your toddler could suddenly get up, not understanding the danger.
More Tips to Help your Toddler Adjust to a Newborn
- Cuddle with your toddler and admire the baby together. Talk about her little fingers. When she kicks, ask him if he can kick like that.
- Frequently ask your toddler his advice. Will you help me tell the baby a story or sing her a song? What onesie should she wear today? Your toddler will love getting attention and will be proud about helping with the baby.
- Talk to him about his feelings regarding his new role in the family. Don’t fuss at him for any negative feeling he may have. Give him plenty of extra tender loving care (TLC) and give him assurance that the love you have for him hasn’t diminished in the least.
- Read him stories that can help him adjust. Joanna Cole’s I’m a Big Brother and I’m a Big Sister are great choices. She is one of many authors who have written books on the subject.
- Give your child time to adjust. Don’t force bonding with the baby. Continue to nurture them both, and he will eventually come around.
Toddlers Eventually Adjust to Being an Older Sibling
The most important thing to do is relax and believe that everything will be okay. Enjoy your baby and continue to nurture her siblings. Everything will work out just fine in the end.