Preparing your Toddler for a New Sibling : What to Know
Congratulations mama! Your doctor’s appointments are up to-date, you are eating healthy and looking forward to holding your new baby in your arms.
Hold on! take a deep breath, before your pack your bags and bring home the baby, you look around the room and before you take a step you know you have to prepare not just yourself and you newborn but your family too…. starting with most vulnerable one, your toddler.
They play, and cling to you every chance they can, they want you to see them stand on their own and stumble across the room as they show you they can walk.
They are probably surprised that they can stand and wobble around and amazed that you can do it so easily without holding on to anything. Your loving little child is always seeking your approval, love and attention, oblivious to the life you carry inside you.
Before you have to share your precious attention with the newborn how do you break the news to the little one that someone new is coming and they will change your world and that of your little boy or girl forever?
Personally, I spent most of my days with my eldest son, we didn’t speak much, because… well his vocabulary was limited to mostly simple words, and even though he didn’t know why he sensed that I was different, ( not just talking about the extra kgs I had gained).
I took walks with him, and afternoon naps, we played in the grass and I mock chased him around the house when I was not too big to run around and when we sat down to catch our breath I asked if he would like having a new brother or sister soon.
I often let him feel my belly when the baby kicked to let him know the baby was saying ‘Hallo’ to him eager to see him soon. Even though I did not get a straight answer, at least, I tried to broach the subject, I felt anxious that I he was not prepared for the new baby.
Therefore, I decided to have a chat with Josephine Waithera and Rosinta Wamaitha, and they shared the dilemma of communicating with a toddler on having a new baby in the house.
Josephine said she knew he couldn’t understand most of the details but sometimes took him with me to the clinic appointments so he could feel part of the process,” (Which to me sounded like a brilliant idea.)
Rosie on the other hand took a different approach with her four year old. She took him shopping with for the baby clothes between the shopping spree and folding baby clothes I gently told him that the new baby would be a coming soon,” which was Rosie’s way of bonding with him.
I sort the advice of a childcare specialist just to weigh in if there was any way to make it easier to inform your toddler and Ms Lillian Kimani of Greenlane Day Care Center said that it was important to avoid telling the toddler that the reason “mummy is sick or tired or other physical discomforts” that come with being pregnant are being caused by the newborn baby.
Children are instinctively over protective of you and may start to blame their sibling for “hurting” their mummy. Allow your child to see photos of themselves when they were little, or photos of when you were pregnant with them will give them a sense of understanding that they too were ‘inside’ mummy.
Avoid talking about the new baby too often to avoid making the toddler jealous, if all conversations with your toddler revolve around the pregnancy, they may feel left out.
From my talk with mums I realized that everyone has their own way of bonding with their child but the important thing is to try involving them even if it seem like they are too young to understand, reassuring them that there is enough love and attention for them even if the new little baby is almost here.
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