Tips for a Smooth Transition for Your Toddler When New Baby Comes Home
byKathryn WalshApr 01, 2014
Being unseated as the baby of the family is alarming for the typical toddler. So while you're thrilled about your new baby, your tot might struggle to find her footing when the new center of attention comes home. Being sensitive to your toddler's range of emotions is key right now. A few days or weeks of special treatment should help usher her into this new phase with minimal upset.
Watching you nurse, change and cuddle the baby will spark
jealousy in your toddler, so let her be the center of attention for another
trusted adult. Friends can take your little one for a play date, your partner
can take her out for an ice-cream treat or she can go on a very special
sleepover with her grandparents. Before finalizing plans, ask if she wants to
go along with them. She should be excited about one-on-one time with other
grown-ups rather than feeling like she's being sent away.
Baby Them Both
It's not uncommon for a new big sibling to want to be babied and
regress in some ways. She might use baby talk, cling to you or beg for her old
pacifier. Go along with this behavior, suggests the University of Michigan
Health System website, to prevent further regression. Insisting your toddler
act like a "big kid" might backfire and make her act even more
infantile. So be sensitive to her request to be rocked to sleep for now, and
back off on potty-training attempts for a few weeks until she has adjusted to
the new baby.
A little bribery goes a long way with a toddler. Presenting her
with a shiny new gift lifts her spirits and lets her feel as though she's
sharing the spotlight. Gift-bearing friends and family might bring things for
both kids. In case they don't, suggests Dr. William Sears of AskDrSears.com,
wrap up some new things for your toddler that she can open when you're opening
baby gifts. A truck or art supplies will always be a hit, but a shirt that
boasts "Big Sister" or a board book that she can "read" to
the baby will help her feel important.
Involving your toddler in newborn care makes her feel valued and
teaches her baby safety, too. Ask her to help you plan a party for the newborn,
suggests Dr. Sears. Even if the "party" is just a dressed-up version
of family dinner, letting your tot choose the menu, music and decor will thrill
her. Name her your helper for activities such as changing the baby's diaper or
breastfeeding. She can hand you supplies or sing to keep the newborn
entertained, all while you point out how to gently touch the baby and remind
her that only adults can pick up the infant.