Preparing Our Toddler For A New Baby
We’re very pleased to share this new Parent Panel post by Emma from Me, The Man and The Baby, not only does it offer some great advice but it’s all the more poignant as at the time of publication she is just over a week away from giving birth to her second baby boy!
Planning your second child is so different to planning your first; this time around you have your first child to take into account. I know that the gap between having first and subsequent children varies from parent to parent. You want the time to be right, whether financially, or whether you’re just waiting for your child to hit an age where he/she is at nursery or school. For us we decided that by the time Oli reached 3 it would be a nice age to have another one around, this is what felt right for us.
This means that he will be aware of the changes going on around him, of course the first big change is with mummy. A bump starting to appear has thrown him a little, but we’ve used this as our way of explaining to him that we have a baby on the way. This is where his brother is staying until he’s ready to come out, I may have compared it to baking cupcakes and how we have to patiently wait for them to be cooked. I guess this isn’t far off the truth when you consider that we call it a ‘bun in the oven’.
Another thing that helped the process of explaining to the toddler that we are soon going to be a family of 4 instead of 3 was finding out the sex. Having another boy means reusing all of Oli’s old stuff; I got him involved with the process of sorting out his old clothes by explaining to him that he used to wear these tiny little outfits when he was a baby and that now his brother will be wearing them.
We also found a book in our local charity shop (though I know you can also get your hands on them online/in bookshops) which was aimed at children and explained to them in simple words all about our new baby. This has been making a great night time read for us, it seems to be the time when he’s at his most attentive and takes it in that this is what he’s going through and how he too can prepare for baby’s arrival by picking out toys for him and doing him some drawings. Makes for great fridge pictures when I ask him to draw what he thinks baby will look like-apparently I’m to give birth to a set of various shapes.
When it comes to baby time we’ve explained to him that he’ll be going to stay at his Aunt’s house, this pleases him as he’s quite fond of playing with his cousin so this has given him something to look forward to. I know we’ll have no problem when it comes to this stage as it’s somewhere he feels comfortable and I’ll know he’ll be ok there while I bring his brother into the world.
Having another child hasn’t come without it’s doubts for me, I keep wondering if I should have left it a little longer and spent more time as a family of 3, but after running around the garden and playing hide and seek with him I realized that I’d be giving him more than just a brother, I’ll be giving him a playmate.
I would love to know how you prepared your child/children for the arrival of a new baby, please feel free to leave me a comment below.