Becoming a big brother or sister is an exciting event in a child’s life. But for a toddler who has never had this experience, it can also be pretty intimidating. Your toddler will have lots of concerns, but may have trouble voicing them. But there are some things you can do to make the transition easier for her.
When to Tell Your Toddler About the Baby
To a toddler, sitting in time out for a couple of minutes seems like an eternity. So as you might imagine, 9 months is more than she can fathom. That’s why it’s important not to tell your toddler too early in the pregnancy.
In most cases, you can wait until 2 or 3 months before the baby is due to tell your toddler about it. And if she starts asking questions about your bulging belly, that’s a sign that it may be time to spill the beans.
Getting Accustomed to the Idea of a Little Brother or Sister
Once you have told your toddler that she will have a new brother or sister, she will probably have lots of questions. Younger toddlers, however, will not know how to put all of those questions into words. You can help by giving your toddler as much information as possible in terms that she can understand.
If you have a friend or family member who has a newborn, taking your toddler to spend some time with her is a great idea. Seeing a baby live and in person will let your toddler see what it does and how it must be cared for. If you don’t know anyone who has a new baby, you can get out the photo albums and show your toddler what she was like when she was a baby.
Giving Your Toddler’s Things to the Baby
If you are going to be giving your toddler’s crib to the new baby, it’s a good idea to go ahead and put her in a toddler bed well in advance. This will give her time to adjust and keep her from having hard feelings toward the baby about it. The same holds true if you are moving her to another room.
If you plan to let the baby use your toddler’s old toys and outgrown clothes, asking your toddler first will help avoid any ill will. Tell her what a great big sister she will be, and that her younger sibling could really use those clothes and toys that are packed away in the closet.
Preparing your toddler for the arrival of her new brother or sister in advance will give her time to get used to the idea. By the time the baby gets here, she will be excited about its arrival. There may still be some sibling conflicts, but having most of her questions answered will make your toddler feel better about making room for one more in the family.