|SIBLING LOVE: Some tips for introducing your toddler|
to a new family member
Everyone will probably have advice for how to deal with the transition, but I came up with a few of the tricks I've used and recommended over the years. Some are mine and some I've picked up over the years, but they're all great for introducing a new family member.
1. Prepare for their first meeting. The first meeting between your older baby and new baby is extremely important. When you bring your older child to the hospital to meet the new baby, make sure he or she enters the room when the baby isn't there. Then have your new baby wheeled in for the introduction. When it comes time for the older sibling to leave, have the baby wheeled out first. That way, they won't think you're excluding them and they're not missing anything.
2. Throw a "big brother/big sister" party. This could be during the baby shower, when the new baby comes home from the hospital, or another time. A party can help make older children feel like they're special too and have something to celebrate.
3. Orchestrate a gift exchange. Let your older child pick out something he wants to give to the new arrival. Explain how special a new baby is, and a gift symbolizes that. Then turn it around -- have the new baby give your toddler a gift. That way, everyone is contributing to the family.
4. Make sure your toddler has support and stability. The simple fact is that your family is expanding, and your attention will be divided among your children now. It might be hard for your toddler to accept this, so make sure that his relationship with dad, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are strong so he feels supported from all members of his family. And try to stick with his routine as much as possible so he sees that not much has changed.
The most important thing is to have open communication with your child. Talk about the new baby and the special job older brothers and sisters do. Be honest: In the first few months, their new sibling will just eat, sleep, and cry. But after a while, it will be time to teach them all the things your toddler already knows how to do!
However you choose to do it, bringing home baby #2 (or 3 or 4!) is an exciting and memorable experience. If you take a little time to prepare everyone in the family, it can be a smooth transition.
Did you do anything to prepare your older child for a new sibling? Did it work? How did they react to their new brother or sister?