Spilling the baby beans to your toddler can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially when you’re unsure about the type of reaction that you will receive. Often, parents have to deal with a handful of behavioural challenges while others are simply amazed at the tolerance and acceptance shown by their first little bundle of joy.
By the time you sit your little one down to chat about their new sibling, you will probably still have a few months before your baby arrives, a time in which you will be able to gauge how to deal with your child’s emotions and reactions.
In many cases, toddlers who are involved in the pregnancy and who are encouraged to feel your tummy and ask questions are more likely to be excited upon the arrival of their baby sibling. However, parents can never be sure how their toddlers will react, even if they have been encouraged to be part of the nine-month journey. Here are a handful of comforting tips on how to prepare your child for the arrival of a sibling:
Sharing the News
Sharing the news with your little one is both daunting and exciting – make no mistake, your little one’s reaction can either be one of enthusiasm or anxiety! The best way in which to share the news is to sit him or her down in a comfortable and quiet space, reassuring him or her that you have some exciting and happy news to share.
Before you begin, let your little one know that mommy and daddy are very excited but that nothing will change. Ask your toddler whether he or she would like a baby brother or sister, and ask if they understand what it would mean to have a sibling. Once you’ve broken the ice and are engaged in a conversation with your little one, break the news in a gentle way.
Whether your conversation ends in tears or excitement, follow it up with an activity or a warm bath that reminds him or her about the comforting relationship with mom and dad. Wrap your little one up in a pair of pyjamas or a blanket that has been lovingly washed with a delicately scented fabric conditioner – not only will this offer comfort but it allows for snuggles, plenty of which may be necessary!
Show and Tell
Help your little one understand what it means to have a baby in your tummy by showing him or her photographs of what you looked like when you were pregnant with him or her. Not only will this ensure that your little one is familiar with the changes that you will experience but it will also ensure his or her involvement. As you attend scans and visits to the doctor, be sure to take your little one along with you.
Let him or her take a look at the sonar, listen to the heart beat and encourage him or her to ask as many questions as possible. It is also more than likely that your toddler will not want to talk about the baby, ask questions or show any interest in your changing body. It is, however, important to continue to involve him or her in the journey to ensure that they know how to express their emotions once their sibling arrives.
Preparing for the arrival of a sibling can be stressful. However, with enough encouragement, your little one will soon be excited about the arrival of his or her little sibling!