Having another baby is so exciting, but with a toddler around, parents understandably worry about how the toddler will take to their new brother/sister. When my daughter was 14 months, I fell pregnant with my son. They are exactly two years apart, and so we did quite a few things to ensure that my daughter was excited about the impending arrival.
We did the general things that parents do, like reading through big brother/sister books (this selection by Baby Gizmo editor Jessica is great!), taking her along to ultrasounds, and buying a gift “from the baby” to our daughter to present to her at the hospital. But the best tips were from a friend who told us what to say to our daughter on a daily basis to keep her excitement there throughout the day. If you have a new baby arriving soon and a toddler running around, try these suggestions to get them excited about their future baby brother/sister.
1. Call It “Your Baby”
If you’re toddler’s name, for example, is Laura, start to call the baby “Laura’s baby.” Not only will they feel valued and a part of your big, exciting adventure, but the sense of pride and ownership will make a difference to how they treat your newborn. We all know children care more about something that belongs to them, so let them know that this baby is theirs too.
2. Baby Can’t Wait To Play With You!
Tell your toddler about what baby can’t wait to do! “She can’t wait until you stroke her hand gently like this” or “She can’t wait for you to cuddle her and make her feel loved!” Think of how great your child will feel when they know there’s yet another person in the family that is excited to be with them!
3. Talk To Your Baby About Your Toddler
In front of your toddler, talk to your baby and say things like “I have your big brother here, who can’t wait to show you his toy cars!” (or whatever it is that your toddler is into). You’re building that excitement between the two children, and creating a strong bond between them- what’s more important than that?
4. Baby Is Trying To Meet You!
Let your toddler feel your baby moving, and be sure to tell them that baby is just excited to come out and meet them! My son was a kicker throughout my pregnancy, and we would always tell my daughter that it was because he was trying to get out to see her. She loved it, and I think by the end of the pregnancy she thought he was going to pop right out of the top of my belly!
The main thing is to keep your words as positive and encouraging as possible, even after the baby is born. Keep in mind, your toddler is still a baby too. We tend to forget because they suddenly seem like the big kid, but they need just as much patience as the newborn, especially as they have no idea how to interact with this delicate, new human being who has suddenly taken mom and dad’s attention away from them. Our words have a lasting affect, and can either create a loving bond or jealousy and anger. Even though toddlers are not able to speak to us like older children, they can understand a lot more than we give them credit for. So avoid thinking “Oh, s/he won’t understand.” They will, and your words will make a world of difference.
Do you have any tips on what to say to a toddler to get them excited about a new sibling? Share them with us in the comments below!