On this page
Are you preparing for a second baby with a toddler? Worried about how you’re going to juggle both a newborn and your little one? Here we give some tips about how to cope with a toddler and a new baby.
Welcoming a new baby into your home is an exciting time, but it can be difficult for both you and your toddler. You now have an extra little person to care for, and you may be wondering how you will cope with the demands of both. Your toddler has to accept that he or she is not the centre of attention anymore, mummy and daddy have to be shared. Not easy for a small child who is not used to sharing anything. Having a young sister or brother changes the whole family dynamic.
So How Do I Cope If My Toddler Is Jealous?
Not every child will be jealous, but if your toddler is showing some resentment to your newborn remember it’s only normal. Luckily there are some tried and tested ways to make the adjustment easier.
- Include your toddler during your pregnancy – preparing for a second baby with a toddler should be a time when you include and explain to your little on what is going on. A new little sister or baby brother is on it’s way, it’s an exciting time!
- Recognise your toddlers’ feelings – if your child starts to show negative feelings, don’t scold them. Acknowledge that they are feeling insecure and try to reassure them.
- Set time aside for one on one activities – this may seem impossible with a new baby, but you will find time, even if it’s only 10 – 20 minutes a day. Enlist the help of dad to give your toddler extra attention, or read them a story while you’re feeding your newborn.
- Don’t leave your toddler out – of course everyone wants to see the new baby, and they may arrive with armfuls of gifts. Include your little one by letting them open the gifts, and praise them for helping. If a gift is not age appropriate for your new baby, give it to your toddler so he or she doesn’t feel left out.
- Give lots of praise – reward your toddler with affection and praise for any small act they do to help out.
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
Tips For Managing A Toddler While Caring For A Newborn
Caring for a new baby and a toddler is demanding, there’s no denying it. While you can’t get away from your new baby’s dependence, there are ways to keep your toddler distracted. This is a time when your toddler should learn a little independence and to play quietly, which is an important step in their development.
– Enrol Your Toddler in a Preschool Program
Having a second baby with a toddler could be a good time to start a preschool program. You don’t want to seem like you’re pushing your toddler aside, but make it sound like something special for the ‘big kids’. Having your toddler in preschool will free up your time for your baby, and give you something to focus on with your toddler. Make a fuss of how was their day, what did they do or learn. It’s also a chance for your toddler to start making new friends.
– Set Up A Special Toddler Area
If you’re caring for both a toddler and an infant, setting up an area where your toddler can play by himself is very important. Choose an area in your home that your toddler can call their own. Get a small table and chair, and introduce games and activities that he or she can play on their own. Think colouring books and crayons, building blocks and age related puzzles and games. It’s a great time to encourage independent play.
– Tell Your Toddler Stories
While you may not always be in a position to pick up a book with a newborn, you can always tell your toddler a story. You can make up a story about anything. Include your toddlers favourite doll or teddy bear and create an adventure. Tell stories about your toddler when they were a baby, and how the new baby is similar or different. It really doesn’t matter about the level of your story telling, it’s about keeping your toddler engaged.
– Try To Coordinate Naps
Easier said than done! Having a second baby with a toddler is no mean feat, but if you can coordinate their naps it will go a long way to giving you a bit of much needed rest. Try settling your newborn down first, this will give you time to read a story or have a cuddle with your toddler, and hopefully he or she will doze off. It will be trial and error at first, but the effort will pay off.
– Make Up Busy Bags
Busy Bags are exactly what their name says. Bags containing simple toys or craft ideas, ready to keep your toddler busy! To make up a busy bag, you will need simple materials like pompoms, craft sticks, buttons and old magazines. Then you can store them in a bag, ready for your toddler to play with. You can create games that will teach them colour or shape matching skills and keep them quiet at the same time.
So how to cope with a toddler and a new baby at bath time? While your newborn is still very tiny it’s best to use a separate baby bath, but keep your toddler involved. Once you feel your baby is big enough, why not put them in the bath together? It will save you time and be more fun. Remember to always put the oldest in first and take them out last, so that baby is never left unattended in the bath. Have everything you need at hand, (towels, nappies, pyjamas, etc) so that you don’t have to leave the tub. You can even add bath toys and let them splash about together. Bathing together will be a lot more fun for the two of them, and for you too!
YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:
Play time is an important part of any child’s’ development. Children learn through play, and they learn even more if they have your attention. Just because you have a newborn doesn’t mean that you can’t all play together. Introducing your new baby to your toddlers playtime will help them adjust, as they will have to play together eventually. Take them outdoors, into the garden, to the park or to the beach. Fresh air and the outdoors will keep them stimulated, and tire them out for an all important good night’s sleep for everyone.
Finally, Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help!
Having a second baby with a toddler is no easy task, and if you have family or friends who want to help, let them. If you don’t have that support network and you are feeling a little overwhelmed and need some help there are plenty of organisations out there. Don’t be afraid to ask. Network with other parents, maybe someone from your toddler’s preschool group. Sometimes just having a coffee with someone in a similar position can give you great relief and make you feel human again.
On a lighter note, ask your toddler for help. They can help with handing nappies over, fetching a bottle or putting things away. As they get a bit older they can help with keeping an eye on their younger brother or sister, and feel proud that they can be so useful! Sometimes it’s the small things that make a difference.
7 Ways to Manage a Toddler While Caring for an Infant, by Louisa Fitzgerald, at Very Well Family.