THE NEW ADDITION
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.