I often get asked how I introduced the new baby to my toddler. They are best friends and we haven’t had a single day of jealousness from my eldest. Here are my tips for introducing the new baby. Keep in mind that just because this worked for me, doesn't mean it will work for you. Each child is different.
Preparation is key. I started about a month before the baby was born, telling Lily that I was going to be going away for a few nights. You get books to help with this but I just found that telling her that she was going to get a real baby soon, not just a play play dolly, was enough. I bought her a life sized baby doll that I wrapped up for the baby to give to her at the hospital and I made a gift pack for her for while I was in hospital. It was filled with fun things to do with granny, a few sweet treats, paints, play dough, and colouring in supplies.
The thing with kids is that they forget. That’s why I still have to remind my little girl to say please and thank you and to flush the toilet. They forget. So we reminded her again and again that there was a new baby coming and that the baby was going to be her best friend forever. We kept telling her that mommy is going to go away for a little while and will bring the baby home with her. I stressed that the baby is going to be her baby as well, that the baby will be all of ours and we will all get to play with her and love her.
Finally, recognise that this is a big change, for all of you. Expect difficulties and be prepared for them. Lily started sleeping with us again when her sister was born, despite being quite happy in her own room before. She didn't want to leave the baby’s side so she insisted. We relented, as we believe in co-sleeping anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. Pick your battles.
Also recognise your toddler as the big sister. Let her help with small things. When changing nappies Lily always gets the nappy for me, passes me wet wipes and throws the nappy away afterwards. She helps wash the baby’s feet in the bath and as soon as she was ready for solids, Lily was there shoving yoghurt in her mouth. She is very protective over her sister and tells everyone that she is HER baby. We embrace this and make sure that she knows that they are going to be together forever and will always be each other’s best friend.
It is very important to me that my children are close. In our house, family is everything, so we have started from very early on trying to instil this in our girls. So far it’s working. I’m sure in the years to come we will have fall outs and teenage tantrums, but so far, all is peaceful.
What did you do to ease the the transition of a new baby arriving?