Hello, Stranger! Helping Your Toddler Deal with a New Sibling
Until your new baby was born, your toddler ruled the roost. It's understandable that she might not be ready to welcome this little attention-hogging stranger with open arms just yet - but understanding that doesn't make the transition easy to deal with as a parent. How can you squash this budding sibling rivalry? With patience, understanding and a little bit of toddler-style real talk.
- Explain what's happening. Toddlers aren't exactly known for their rationality, but you can help your oldest understand that her brand-new sibling needs a lot more help from mommy. Showing photos and videos from her own early babyhood may help ensure she feels part of the helping crew for the new baby.
- Make time for her. Remember until recently, your toddler was an only child! One of the things she's craving is one-on-one time with you. Take time out of your schedule to play, read and snuggle with just her.
- Show her how to interact with the baby. She won't understand how delicate infants are. Show and tell her to be gentle while handling her new sibling. Explain that baby isn't ready to play yet, but she can touch his hands and feet, gently pat his head, hold his finger or give him soft toys to touch.
- Remind her that she's the "big kid!" Toddlers love to feel important. Have her help with baby's feeding and bathing - and never stop reminding her what a great older sibling she is.