How to Engage a Toddler With a New Baby Sibling

May 9, 2017 by

A new baby presents a huge change for every member of the family. While an older child who’s about to become a big sibling might be thrilled about the arrival of a new baby, the transition will likely prove to be a bit more challenging for toddlers who are accustomed to having mom and dad’s attention all to themselves. The difficulties toddlers face as part of this life-changing transition are understandable, and there are things you can do to make the experience easier for everyone involved.

Helping A Toddler Become a New Big Sibling

Here are three things you can do to help your toddler embrace–and even love–being a new big brother or sister!

1. Encourage your toddler to be a big helper
Sure, changing a diaper or preparing a bottle might not seem like fun to you. But your toddler will love any activity that will allow her to feel like a special helper. You can even find creative ways to let your toddler help you make choices, where appropriate. For example, “Which outfit should we choose for baby today?” Be sure to thank your toddler for helping so they feel acknowledged for their effort!

2. Have fun!
Of course, being a parent to a toddler and a newborn baby will be exhausting and, at times, stressful. But by making a point to incorporate fun into your daily routine, you’ll help keep your toddler from thinking “baby = end of fun.” Engage your toddler in fun activities like a puppet show he puts on for his new baby sibling, or a scavenger hunt where he needs to find items from around the house. While baby is sleeping and you have your hands free, engage in some special one-on-one time with just your toddler. One-on-one time is especially important after a new baby joins the family!

3. Embrace the good times with the bad
You’ll share incredible moments of cuddles, smiles and giggles with both your toddler and your new baby. But at other moments, your toddler may communicate distress about their new situation either using words or through their behavior. Try not to change your toddler’s feelings; validating her feelings by allowing her to have them and expressing that you understand why she is having them will reassure her that you still love her, and that she is OK. This will make the process of healing the distress smoother.


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