Baby Makes 4

Justin Bertelsen
Baby #2 is coming soon and I am worried about how our toddler, Ross, will react when we bring his little sister home. He is almost two but he doesn’t seem to comprehend that his mom’s belly will eventually get smaller… We ask him, “where’s the baby?” he points to my wife’s tummy and says “baby.” We encourage him but at such a young age it’s difficult to help him prepare for the long nights of little sleep, the shift of attention from him to his sister, and an ever changing schedule to cater to his sister and mom’s doctors appointments and meetings. This begs the question, how do we help our first born prepare for our subsequent kids?

In this blog I will provide three suggestions that may be helpful in transitioning from one little on to two. Here we go!

1. Before baby comes excite and prepare your toddler for softness

As I have talked to other parents who have more than one kid, they said that the biggest mistake they made in preparing was telling their toddler that they would have a new “friend to play with.” This will most certainly be true in the future, but those first few weeks and months of a newborn’s life are really delicate. They aren’t ready for a big brother or big sister to play dress up or hide and go seek with them. This may disappoint your older kids. Practice being soft with them with a doll or a favorite toy. Help them connect that they need to show the same care when interacting with the new baby as well.

2. Set realistic expectations with your toddler

Normal text.Setting realistic expectations is super important in this process. Choose your words carefully when talking about the baby, “baby brother is coming soon, he will be so happy to see you when he gets here” and “baby is still learning how to sleep, she is going to cry a lot, we need to be patient with her.” These expectations can be set in a family meeting before the baby comes. This “official meeting” can help everyone be on the same page.

3. Enlist the help of your toddler

Our little Roscoe loves to feel helpful. Whenever he sees a broom, his eyes light up and he pushes it around the house. Kids love to feel important and that they are contributing. They see their parents teaming up to make their home run smoothly and they want to become like them. In a family meeting, ask help from your toddler, “this transition is going to be tough on all of us, can we count on you to help us clean up your toys?” another idea may be to say “mommy and daddy will be up in the middle of the night with baby, can you say a prayer for us so we can help little sister?” (this will help them think of others and keep calm even when they wake up in the middle of the night). In addition to these suggestions, you can ask them to get a diaper for baby or to re-plug a pacifier. Including your toddler builds a strong bond in your family.

Check out this link to find more suggestions on how to help your little ones transition.