The most important thing to remember when you are preparing a 1, 2 or 3 year old for a new sibling is that they are still very young, all information will have to be repeated and they will still have difficulty controlling impulses.

Here are some things you can do to make the transition from only child to big brother/sister easier for your child.

1) Read a lot of children’s book about becoming a older sibling. Discuss the characters and their feelings -wow mommy is getting very very busy, big sister is feeling a bit lonely etc..
2) Use every opportunity you can find to talk to your toddler about baby – let them feel the kicks, take them to doctor’s appointment and ultrasounds if possible. This will help make the baby slightly more ‘real’.

3) Think very carefully about who will be with your child while you give birth and are in the hospital. Facilitate the relationship between caregiver and toddler, ensure that the child feels comfortable with and trusts the caregiver. Help the caregiver find ways to comfort your child.

4) Think about the first meeting with the baby. Is your older child going to come to visit/stay with you in the hospital? Will your older child only meet you when you come home? Try to have a gift from baby to big brother/sister ready. Ensure that your hands are free to hug your older child when you meet after separation, let someone else hold baby till you are done cuddling.

5) After baby’s arrival, help your toddler feel important. Tell visitors to bring something for older child (if they are bringing gifts), or have small toys ready as ‘gifts from visitors’ just in case they only bring things for the new arrival. Ensure that your older child gets the attention he/she is used to from relatives and friends.

6) Talk to baby about what a great big brother/ sister they have (in front of toddler). How kind older child is, so helpful, such a expert at tummy time, so quick at bringing diapers and wipes… Let your older child hold and play with baby, under constant supervision.

7) Do your best to maintain the routines that older child is used to. This will mean that you might be nursing in public more often or that baby might be napping in a carrier earlier than your older child did at that stage.

8) Try to get a little bit of time with your older child everyday. This can be difficult with a newborn, but remember that quality of the time together is more important than the quantity. You will also probably be spending a lot of time nursing baby- have some books, crayons and paper, soft toys, etc. close at hand so that you can engage with your older child while nursing baby.

9) Do not introduce big girl/boy stuff around the same time as the arrival of a sibling. Postpone things like toilet training, sleeping apart, starting school, etc. a little bit. A new sibling is a huge adjustment, so give your child some time before introducing the next big thing.

10) If toilet training, pre-school etc. are recent achievements then remember that your older child might ‘regress’ a little bit after the arrival of a new sibling. A little time and patience will go a long way in helping your older child adjust to the big chan

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All comments (2)
  • Jyoti Somani
    September 14, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Hi, I found the post informative. Could you please recommend some books that I could read to my 3.5 year old. We are expecting a […] Read MoreHi, I found the post informative. Could you please recommend some books that I could read to my 3.5 year old. We are expecting a baby early March. Read Less

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  • Jessica
    October 12, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Regardless of the age of your child, he needs to be prepared to accept a new sibling in the house. Here's how you can make […] Read MoreRegardless of the age of your child, he needs to be prepared to accept a new sibling in the house. Here's how you can make his journey of acceptance smoother. https://www.parentcircle.com/article/preparing-your-little-child-for-a-new-sibling/ Read Less

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