Preparing Toddlers For Siblings

My Petit Canard Preparing Toddlers for Siblings

A few weeks ago the nursery spoke to us about the little lady not using her “listening ears”, in other words not doing good listening. Something that we have also been experiencing at home recently too, and whilst its nothing to be particularly concerned about behaviourally it is something that had sent little warning flags up for us. It could of course just be a case of the terrible twos at their peak, but I suspect it may be more likely something to do with the impending arrival of the new baby and the slight shift of focus from her, to her and someone else.

Admittedly I have found the last few months particularly taxing, working and commuting up until I was 37 weeks pregnant. I was constantly exhausted and often found that I didn’t have much energy or patience left by the evenings which meant that the little lady hasn’t got as much of my time and attention as she has been used to over the last few years. Children, I’ve realised are surprisingly observant and I’m pretty sure she has noticed and felt the changes that have started to take place at home and as a result has started testing the boundaries and behaving in a way that will get our attention whenever she wants it.

We know that she is really young and still learning right from wrong, so it was really important to us that we didn’t make too much of a big deal out of it, but that we did sit her down and talk to her about the importance of listening and behaving. We’ve introduced a reward chart and have started to incorporate good listening into our vocabulary, and of course more importantly we are trying to be more patient and give her more of our quality time and attention. But it also got me thinking about more broadly what we’ve done over the last nine months to prepare the little lady for the arrival of a sibling which has also really helped her understand and feel included in all the preparations and fuss.

 

Explain What Is Happening To Your Toddler

Ever since my bump became a visible bump I’ve talked to the little lady about the baby growing inside my tummy and encouraged her to bond with the baby so that she feels this is as much her baby and sibling as it is ours. She talks to my tummy, rubs it, cuddles it and even kisses and rubs noses with it so I’d like to think that she has already started to develop a life long bond and love for this little one.

 

Read Books About Having A New Baby To Your Toddler

One of the first things we did when we found out we were pregnant was start talking to the little lady about having a baby and a sibling. It was a whole new concept to explain to her so books were a really useful way of being able to do this in an easy and simple way. The lovely Zoe @pumpingmummy sent us a couple of lovely books that she had used with her children like There’s a House Inside My Mummy which has been great for helping us to explain how babies grow and where they come from.

 

Create Mini Milestones For Them

Growing and having a baby is a long process, especially for a two year old. 9 months probably seems like an eternity for them and not a lot changes during that time other than mummy’s tummy gets bigger and bigger. But there is quite a lot that happens at the end when baby arrives and I’ve wanted to help the little lady understand the order of events through creating mini milestones. So I’ve talked about mummy and daddy going to the hospital as event, her going to stay with family whilst we’re at the hospital and her coming to visit the baby as an event. As we’ve got a really busy summer as a family I’ve also wanted to give her a sense of time and perspective so have talked about us going on holiday as a family after the baby arrives and her starting nursery school in September after we’ve been on holiday.

 

Get Your Toddler Involved In Getting Ready For Baby

I’ve consciously involved the little lady in the preparations for the new baby as much as possible. From buying new baby clothes to setting up the SnuzPod and packing the hospital bags, I’ve wanted her to feel included in all the preparations and create a little excitement for her too. It’s also helped start to introduce her to the fact that the baby will be sleeping in our room and that mummy and daddy will need to go to hospital to have the baby which is helpful.

 

Take Your Toddler Out To Buy A Gift For Baby

We’ve havent had to buy too many new things for the baby as we still had most of the bits from when we had the little lady, but the one thing we have had to buy lots of is new clothes which I’ve really enjoyed. I absolutely love buying girl clothes, but boys clothes are a whole new exciting world and I thought it would be lovely for the little lady to be able to pick out some bits and have something to bring to the hospital as a gift for her new sibling. I loved doing this with the little lady, not only because it was really nice to watch her get excited about picking out something herself, but because it is also quite a symbolic way for her to welcome the new baby once he has arrived.

 

Surprise Your Toddler With A Gift From Baby

I’ve been really aware of how often new things have been bought, gifted or appeared at home suddenly for the baby but not for the little lady and how that may feel for her. At the same time I don’t want to get into the bad habit of feeling like we have to buy or get her something every time we or someone else gets something for the baby because ultimately she needs to learn that this is what will happen sometimes. But what we did think would be nice to do which so many other have done with their little ones when a new sibling has arrived that has worked really well, is gift the older child with a present from the new baby. This is more of a totemic gesture than about the gift itself so I know we don’t need to go overboard with big and expensive gifts.

 

Let Your Toddler Introduce Baby To Visitors

One of the things that I have been a little bit worried about, is how much attention and excitement there will be around the new baby from family and friends after he arrives. I know that it is only natural, but the last thing that I want is for the little lady to be stood in a corner watching all the people familiar to her coo and make a fuss over the new baby and leave her standing on the sidelines. A suggestion that my sister made that seems like a really nice thing to do, is to allow the little lady to introduce the new baby to visitors at the hospital and at home. That way she still gets to be a little bit at the centre of attention and feel included everything going on. I really like this idea and will try to encourage friends and family to allow her do it when they visit if they can.

 

So these are the things that we have done over the last nine months to prepare the little lady for her new sibling. I’d love to hear if there have been other things that you have done to prepare your little ones for new arrivals in your family!

My Petit Canard
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38 Comments

  1. June 17, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    These are great tips and advice. Having been through this, I prepared a lot like you have. But, I would say that you should also see what your child is like when the baby arrives and then adapt as necessary. I was extremely lucky that Alice loved Holly from the moment she met her and really wasn’t bothered about the present we got her from Holly. Every child is different and be prepared to adapt as you go x #TheList
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  2. June 19, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    Great tips and I think it sounds as though you have done everything you can to prepare for the baby! We didn’t really prepare ours in that the age gaps are so small (12 months and 15 months) that none of them actually understood what was happening, let alone what a baby was! Plus my eldest was much older and completely understood, so in that way none of it was necessary. I’m sure you will all take it in your stride, exciting times to come! #KCACOLS
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  3. June 20, 2016 / 5:40 am

    Definitely very good tips. My daughter seemed to understand there was a baby in my tummy and when he came out she was brilliant with him. Now he is 9 months old, she is starting to realise that he can take her things, etc. but is still (dare I say it) very good. We started talking to her about having a little brother when we knew we were having a boy and she was a little upset it wasn’t a girl but just re-named all her stuffed animals with girl names and that seemed to do the trick! Hope the early stages for you with two are ok. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but amazing with it! #marvmondays
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  4. June 20, 2016 / 6:47 am

    Really great ideas and tips here and I think let the child introduce the baby to visitors is a really good one! We also did the gift from baby to the toddler and that went down really well! 🙂 #marvmondays
    Emma recently posted…Our one minute weekendMy Profile

  5. June 20, 2016 / 7:16 am

    Some great tips and I’m sure she’ll soon adapt. I’m a big fan of a reward chart! #MarvMondays
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  6. June 20, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Some great tips, I especially love buying the baby a gift from your little lady as it’ll make her feel more involved. It must be hard at that age to adjust to a new baby, but it sounds like you’re preparing her well! #marvmondays

  7. June 20, 2016 / 10:16 am

    Ah brilliant. We had a bag of little pressies in hospital for my at the time nearly three year old. As well as a new toy it had a straw drink and a few of his favourite things to eat which kept him occupied whilst he was visiting: he still mentions now all the things his brother got him. Ours have a lovely bond and he loves helping me with him. I’m sure your two will be the best of friends xx #MarvMondays

  8. June 20, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Great ideas! Some kids take to it great, others don’t and some barely notice. Best lean on the side of caution!

  9. June 20, 2016 / 11:01 am

    Great ideas! Some kids take to it great, others don’t and some barely notice. Best lean on the side of caution!

  10. June 20, 2016 / 11:16 am

    Some great tips for mummies of 1 soon to be 2. We didn’t have any problems with our new arrival, although little man was disappointed it was a girl #marvmondays

  11. June 20, 2016 / 2:32 pm

    This was so helpful. I’m not expecting, but I sometimes ponder how I would go about introducing the whole thing to Caspian, so thank you for sharing. Now to convince the other half to have another baby 😉 #MarvMondays

    Nadia – ScandiMummy x
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  12. June 20, 2016 / 2:44 pm

    Some fab tips here. It can be so scary for them! I am worried a little with my youngest meeting the baby I am due next month! #MarvMondays
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  13. June 20, 2016 / 4:39 pm

    Lots of great tips. Sounds like you are well prepared. We did most of these with my oldest. She clearly loves her little sister but she has days where she is acting up to get attention and not listening. #marvmondays

  14. June 20, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    Really great tips and advice that I’ll remember for when I have no.2. I especially like having the sibling do introductions and buying a small gift. #marvmondays
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  15. June 20, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    Some great tips, and having learnt from experience now they are all super useful and you will reap the benefits from preparing her so well! So so excited to hear you announcement!! 😀 😀 xxx
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  16. June 20, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    These are great tips. We loved the House in Mummy’s Tummy book too, my elsdest wanted it read to here a lot after her sister was born too. We also got a present from the baby. I love your other tips too, especially letting your little one help pack bags and pick out clothes. #MarvMonday
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  17. June 20, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    My top bit of advice is to be in tune with your toddler after the arrival – we noticed that it wasn’t the baby bothering Tigs, but the endless stream of visitors through the house – other people playing with her toys, her shows being switched off, her not getting any TLC. We picked up on this and politely asked visitors to give us space as a family to let the girls adjust. It worked!

    Best of luck Emily – you’ll be fine xxx
    #marvmondays
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  18. June 20, 2016 / 8:28 pm

    Very good ideas here. I am sure she is well excited about having a little brother. Did you discuss names as well with her?#KCACOLS
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  19. June 21, 2016 / 10:09 am

    Great advice in your post. Although we are firmly on one baby at the moment, it would be nice to think that down the line I will be back here reading this post for tips on how to help my son adjust to a new sibling! I remember when my younger sister was born me and my older sister were allowed to choose her name (from a choice of 3) helped us feel involved!

  20. June 21, 2016 / 11:35 am

    Nice blog – it’s amazing how little people pick up on everything !

  21. June 22, 2016 / 9:19 am

    Of course such an important thing and I love your pointers. It’s a life charger for everyone. #MarvMondays
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  22. The Tale of Mummyhood
    June 22, 2016 / 9:21 am

    I think that these are really good tips, especially creating milestones. My eldest was only 10.5 months when my second was born so it was difficult to create anything like this. I do feel it would have been better if we could have because you could tell that she was struggling to understand why everything changed so much over night.

    #KCACOLS

  23. June 22, 2016 / 10:36 am

    These are brilliant tips, I hope one day that I will need to use them. I particularly love the idea of her introducing the new bubba when friends and family visit, what a great idea. It may take a bit of adjusting for her but it won’t take long and I’m sure she will adore having a younger sibling to play with (and perhaps boss about?!) Good luck with it all, must be getting close now! So exciting. #BloggerClubUK

  24. June 22, 2016 / 10:44 pm

    Some great tips and advice here Emily. It sounds like you’ve been very organised and gotten your little lady involved so she feels a part of it all.

    We did the gift from baby to sibling thing and it went down reslly well. A lot of friends and family also very thoughtfully bought presents for my toddler aswell as baby too which was lovely!

    Thank you for linking up to #KCACOLS and I hope to see you back again next week X
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  25. June 23, 2016 / 9:38 am

    Those are all great ideas to get the first born ready for a baby. It’s good to have a build up where they can get used to the idea of a sibling & help prepare for their arrival too. Thanks so much for linking up with us at #BloggerClubUK x
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy recently posted…Blogger Club UK Linky 23My Profile

  26. June 23, 2016 / 3:04 pm

    Great tips huni. I hope you are well and not feeling to worn out. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x

  27. June 23, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    You have certainly given a lot of thought to how your little lady will feel when the new baby arrives and I agree that getting them involved is the key. We got Pie as involved as possible and made sure he was the first to see the baby. He did struggle for a while, once all the excitement had died down. But now he loves his little sister and is really helpful when it comes to looking after her. Good luck! #marvmondays

  28. June 25, 2016 / 6:13 pm

    Brilliant list 🙂 we did all of these as well apart from the listening ears … Boy am I regretting that at the moment!! I am sure wilth all the preparation she will be great, one thing we have found is that Monkey thinks we potentially love Kipper more. So we have been reiterating at every opportunity that we love them both the same – that’s probably the only thing I would do in addition if I did it again. Thanks for hosting #MarvMondays xx
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  29. June 25, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    It sounds like you are doing all the right things in preparing for a little sibling. It must be very hard for little ones, even though I have twins I think if we had another it would really throw them #MarvMondays

  30. June 26, 2016 / 5:49 am

    These tips are so helpful especially as we approach the 37th week of pregnancy. Little Miss H is acting up at the moment. But I am sure it is because she is not getting the attention she is used to and she knows that there are a lot of changes at home. I think we’ll definitely have to start following a lot of this advice. Great post lovely and thanks for hosting #MarvMondays. Love Lucy xxxx
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  31. June 27, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    So many lovely tips, I like the idea of letting a sibling introduce baby, it’s not something that I would have thought of. I haven’t had a second, but I can imagine how the transition could make her feel a bit left out. You seem to have everything so beautifully covered. Good luck, but I don’t think you will need it. Thank you for linking up to the #DreamTeam x
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  32. July 1, 2016 / 1:09 pm

    These are great tips. I often wonder what Boo would make of a sibling, though I know that’s not going to happen, sadly. I always think that they must feel like it takes ages for the baby to arrive as even a week seems like an age when you are tiny! #KCACOLS

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