The arrival of a sibling would be very confusing for a toddler. Before your delivery, your toddler use to have you all for him and now he has to share you with another person who is supposed to be born to play with and have fun. This situation would become very confusing on your child and hard to understand. Your first objective is to protect your baby and teach your toddler how to cope with this situation without nurturing any jealousy problems.
The best thing is to start on an early stage. Here are some tips on how to prepare your child:
Take your child with you for a visit to the doctor office. Let him interact with the baby in your tummy. Allow him to help you in preparing the baby’s room. Use some of his oldest clothes and toys and give them to the new baby. He would love to share his stuff with him. Buy new stuff also to your toddler.
When the baby arrives, show your toddler how to play with him and how to touch him. Teach him to be soft with the baby and praise him for good behavior. Never leave your child alone with the baby.
If your child feels resentment towards the baby, talk to him and let him express his feelings. Try to understand his confusion and try to ease the situation. If he cannot express his feelings, talk to him. When he knows that you understand his feelings he would feel better.
Involve your child in your daily routine. Let him help you to dress the baby, prepare his bath, take him for a walk, push the stroller or read a story. When your child realizes that the baby is interacting with him, he will feel excited and overwhelmed.
Find a time for your toddler: whenever the baby is sleeping or relaxed, sit with your toddler, read a story or play a game. Give him lots of hugs and show him affection.
Do not compare your toddler with the baby, as when they crawled for the first time, when they had the first tooth or first haircut… Your toddler may think that you are criticizing him.
Don’t blame the baby on everything: do not use your baby as an excuse for not doing stuff with your toddler as, “We cannot play in the park because the baby is sleeping” or “I cannot help you, I am holding the baby” instead use other wordings as “We will go to the park after lunch”, “When my hands are free, I will help you”,…
With time your toddler will adjust to the presence of the baby in the house. Be patient and calm. These techniques will prepare your toddler to cope with his brother or sister and minimize the occurrence of jealousy episodes when they grow up.