You just had a new baby and everyone is really excited. Well, everyone except your baby (now a toddler). This is the first major adjustment your kid will ever have to make and it wouldn’t be easy especially if up until the day you came home from the hospital, he was soaking up all of your attention. Don’t be surprised if your toddler went ahead and behaved like the new baby didn’t even exist or was that just my kid? This was one of the things that made me extremely nervous when I had my second child. My daughter was 3 months shy of 3 and still really young. Three years later, I must say that I love to see their bond and how close they’ve grown so I wanted to share a few of the things that I did to facilitate that relationship:
1. Get your toddler excited about the new baby.
Do everything you can to make your toddler really excited about becoming a big brother or sister. Take your toddler to all of your doctor appointments, show him/her ultrasound photos so they can see their baby sister or brother.
2. Read about becoming a sibling.
My daughter loved reading books about other kids who were also getting baby brothers or sisters. My daughter would make me read the book Big Sisters Are the Best by and we got the book When Mommy Has Our Baby by after having my son which she loved and I wish we had it earlier because the author does such a great job at addressing what children can expect to change and how to process their feelings in a really positive and upbeat way.
3. Don’t ever tell your toddler that they are no longer the baby.
As far as your toddler is concerned, he still deserves all the attention he’s always had. Sharing you with the new baby may be hard. Don’t make it harder by saying things to him like “You’re no longer the baby” all your toddler is going to do is get jealous of the baby and may even resort to baby like behavior to prove it.
4. Make special time for your toddler.
Leave the baby with grandparents or a babysitter and head to the park with your toddler. Make sure he gets to do all the things he loves and to feel very special doing big kid stuff that baby can’t do yet.
5. Encourage bonding activities.
Bonding activities that worked for my family including reading and listening to music with both kids. They both still love listening to music and snuggling up to read books together. My daughter even reads to her brother now. You can read some of the bonding activities we did here.
6. Give your child ownership of the Baby.
Make your toddler feel important by referring to the baby as “our” baby. This way he will feel more inclined to be gentle and protect the baby. My daughter used to always ask if we could “keep the baby” since she loved him so much.
What did you do to encourage bonding between your kids?
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