Introduce and Educate
Before the baby is even close to arriving you should introduce that subject to your little one. You don't want the new baby to be a big and noisy surprise. Talk with your toddler about the baby. Let him or her touch your pregnant belly and explain that the baby is inside. Even if you don't think your toddler understands, starting the conversation early is important. Do your best to educate your child (and yourself) on the concept of having a sibling. Check out any children's books on the topic. This can be a fun and nice way to introduce the subject. Rather than only focusing on the concept of a "new baby!", talk about things in terms of your toddler becoming a big sister or brother. This helps your toddler understand their place in the event and wards off feelings of jealousy.
Give Lots of Attention
It's important to give your toddler a lot of attention during the time you are preparing them for a newborn. While it may seem logical to try to get your youngster used to having less of your attention because soon you'll be on newborn baby duty, this isn't always the best policy. Yes, your toddler is going to have to get used to having less of your undivided attention, but don't start that right away. In the start, your toddler needs lots of love, lots of attention, and lots of understanding. One of the biggest issues parents run into when siblings enter the picture is their young toddler becoming jealous of all the attention the baby gets. Share aspects of the pregnancy and process with your toddler so that they can feel like they and the baby share the world's attention.
Independence is key. Your little one can actually be a wonderful helper around the house when you will be tending to baby duties. Involve your toddler in everything you do (where it is both safe and possible). Let your toddler help you do chores and teach them to care for some of their own needs on their own. This can be a really fun time for a toddler preparing to become a big brother or sister. Thinking about potty training and other independent activities is important to do early on. Obviously, sometimes timing isn't going to work out perfectly. But, if you have a newborn on the way, think about working with your toddler on potty training, sleeping in their own bed, and other little independence steps.
Understand It Takes Time
First and foremost, enjoy the exciting ride. This is a scary, exhausting, and wonderful time - don't miss out on the adventure. Try to be understanding of your toddler's feelings when the baby comes and try to realise that little speed bumps are bound to happen - things will eventually stabilise. Accept that you've done the best you can to prepare yourself and your family for this new adventure and let things take their course. Just as you have developed a relationship with your new baby, so has your toddler. Let the two of them get to know each other on their own terms from time to time. And enjoy.
My thanks to Nadia Jones for this guest post. Nadia is an education blogger for an online education website and a freelance writer on all things academia. Nadia uses the written word to share her knowledge on accredited online schools and the latest news in the educational world. Though Nadia's mind is always preoccupied with topics of education, she spends much of her time thinking and writing about how education and learning tactics can help tackle difficult life challenges. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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