New Baby on the Way? Prepare Your Toddler

Bringing a new baby home is a joyous event for all. But if you have a toddler, she may have mixed feelings about the new addition to the family. Here are some common problems that parents experience with their toddlers after a baby arrives, and how to handle them.


Your toddler is accustomed to being the baby of the family. Although she is proud of the strides she has made toward becoming a big kid, the arrival of a new baby could cause her to regress. She reasons that since everyone is fawning over the baby, acting like a baby herself will put the spotlight back on her.

Attention is what your toddler is seeking, so this is best handled by not giving extra attention when she acts babyish. Praising her when she does something more “grown up” will reinforce that type of behavior. When she sees that she is getting more attention by acting her age than by acting like the baby, she will be more likely to do so.

Pushing Mom Away

Some toddlers see their baby brother or sister taking up a lot of Mom’s time and feel thatMom has no time for them. As a result, they may become more attached to Dad and push Mom away somewhat. While Dad is basking in the newfound attention, Mom feels left out and unwanted.

This is something that shouldn’t be taken personally. It’s natural for your toddler to have these feelings. Getting Dad to take care of the baby for a little while each day while you spend some quality time with your toddler can help reestablish your special bond. It’s also good to do things as a family as much as possible. This will show your toddler that while the baby is an important part of the family, she is just as important.

Acting Out

In some cases, toddlers become difficult, act out, and throw tantrums in response to a new baby brother or sister. This can be quite frustrating and draining for the postpartum mom.

As with regression, it is best to avoid giving extra attention when your child is exhibiting bad behavior if possible. If she intentionally tries to hurt the baby, however, it must be dealt with firmly. Explaining to the child that the baby has feelings too and putting her in time out will give her time to think about her actions and how they affect her sibling.

Not being the baby of the family any more is a big adjustment for your toddler. During this time she needs plenty of love and attention. Taking some time out to spend with her and rewarding good behavior can make the adjustment easier for both toddler and parents.

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