Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Real Advice -

Q How can I best pre­pare my toddler for the ar­rival of his lit­tle brother or sis­ter, due in six months? A Child psy­chol­o­gist Sally-Anne McCor­mack says: Con­grat­u­la­tions on the new ad­di­tion! It’s an ex­cit­ing time for fam­i­lies, but for a toddler, a baby is some­one who will take away a lot of mum and dad’s at­ten­tion. I usu­ally cau­tion par­ents about say­ing he will have a new sib­ling to play with, be­cause when the baby comes home, it will not be do­ing much play­ing. It’s best to tell the toddler what an im­por­tant role he has be­ing a big brother. In­clude your toddler in ar­eas re­lated to the baby – dec­o­rat­ing the room, putting clothes away, draw­ing pic­tures for the wall and choos­ing the com­ing-home out­fit.

When the baby ar­rives, some peo­ple suggest giv­ing the toddler a present ev­ery time vis­i­tors ar­rive or that the baby ‘give’ a present to their older sib­ling. A dif­fer­ent school of thought is sim­ply to al­low the toddler to ‘help’ the baby un­wrap presents, rather than get­ting presents of his own.

Once the family’s home, let the older sib­ling help with the baby. Be care­ful to never blame the baby – it’s best to say, ‘I’m a bit tired at the mo­ment’, rather than, ‘The baby kept me awake last night’. Do not give your toddler rea­sons to re­sent the baby. If your toddler feels ap­pre­ci­ated, he is more likely to be pos­i­tive about the new ad­di­tion.

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