Helping your toddler adjust to a new baby
If you’re expecting another child and have a toddler in the house, there will be a transition time when the new baby arrives, there’s no denying that. So how can you make this transition go as smoothly as possible?
- Don’t feel guilty
It’s easy to feel guilty when you have a new baby on the scene. You feel guilty about your toddler feeling left out. But here’s the thing; when guilt is in the picture, boundaries get thrown out. You feel bad, so you may give in to a tantrum, or a demand. And then the rules change and shift.
At this time, a toddler needs to feel secure. His life has changed as Mum has her attention directed elsewhere. He needs to know that the rules are still the rules, more now than ever. As soon as the rules and boundaries shift, your toddler ends up feeling even more insecure and this often leads to behaviour issues as she acts out. When rules that use to be the rules aren’t there any more, your toddler is left confused and adrift.
No one wants to make their child feel insecure. Rules have to stay rules, Bedtime has to stay bedtime. Mummy’s bed is still Mummy’s bed even if the baby is in there now. It may sound harsh, but it gives your toddler the security they crave.
- Carve out some special time in your day
Carve out some special time in your day for your toddler, a time when it’s just you and him. Go out to the park, take 15 minutes while baby is sleeping to play or read some books one-on-one.
By having some time set aside, you remind your toddler that he is still a very important part of your life and your love has not changed for him at all. If this doesn’t happen, your child is more likely to get jealous and act out. Even negative attention is still attention. The trick is to not give into that either.
- Expect regressions – in sleep or toilet training
If you know a regression is likely to happen, you can prepare for it. With any big change a regression can happen. The most important thing is to stay strong and consistent with these.
Chances are good that you will get protest or pushback for a few nights at bedtime – that’s just how it will go. They may refuse to go to bed, or to nap, but they still need to do these things. If you remain consistent and again, don’t change the rules, then it will blow over as your toddler gets use to a new baby in the house.
Almost all toddlers are really smitten with a new baby – they love to be around the baby and want to help out. This is a great thing! But they will also seek your attention in other ways and often act out with bad behaviour. The trick is to keep your consistency.
And if you have others helping out, like Mums and Mum-in-laws – make sure she understands that the rules need to stay the rules and schedules need to stay schedules for your toddler too. Changing these things can lead to a slippery slope that is harder to get on top of.
The first month or two are the hardest as a transition time, but just keep on continuing on and it will get easier again! Wishing you all the best with your new baby!
Because everyone needs a good night’s sleep!
Have you signed up to my monthly newsletter yet? You’ll get the latest blogs, articles and giveaways emailed to you first. Sign up here!