10 Tips To Help Ease Your Toddler’s Transition to Older Sibling

Thank you Huggies Little Snugglers and Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this post.  Content and opinions, as always, are my own.

We have a fair amount of pint-sized squabbles over here but the discord is heavily trumped by the incredible sibling partnership that my children share.  They are truly little companions and their rich bond makes me believe in the power of love every single day.

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As close as they are now, the transition to big-sister, at 27 months, was challenging for LP.  And while I’m no parenting expert, I have gleaned a few tips along the way.  Here are my top 10 suggestions to help ease your toddler’s transition to older sibling.

  • Include them in the Pregnancy.  If it works out, bring them along to appointments to hear the baby on the monitor.  Month-by-month diagrams (found on many parenting websites) also provide tangible ways for a toddler to learn about baby’s growth offering comparisons to fruit sizes and descriptions of growth.  Allow your toddler to feel belly kicks and encourage kindness with belly kisses, songs or however they suggest.
  • Revisit their own babyhood.  Go through photo books and videos and tell your toddler stories about when they were a baby.  Also show them photos of your pregnancy with them.  Let your child know how excited you were to meet them so that they understand the incredible baby attention that they were welcomed with.
  • Differentiate between big and little. Talk about all of the fun things that your toddler can do now that they are bigger.  Also discuss how they were treated as a new baby; including gentle hugs, soft feet pats, and smooching without smothering.  Discuss how babies cry when they need something because it is their only means of communication.
  • Introduce little mama/dada role or visit a new baby.  Some children like to take on the little mama/dada role and a small doll, toy bottle and baby carrier may help to facilitate this sort of nurturing role play.  Others respond better to spending time with friends that have baby siblings.
  •  Invest them in the preparation process. Let them pick out something for baby’s preparations and enlist their “help” while setting-up.  Toddler’s often enjoy having “jobs”.  Allow them to help arrange baby diapers in a caddy, organize baby bibs or any other toddler-safe activity.
  • Introduce big changes before baby’s arrival. The change from only child to older sibling is monumental for your toddler.  Beginning things like potty training, switching from a bottle to a sippy cup, and sending pacifiers off to the “paci fairy” should not take place when baby arrives.  If you believe that your child is ready, begin working on these milestones well in advance of baby’s arrival.
  • Stick to their routine. Toddlers crave consistency.  Make sure that you are sticking to your toddler’s bedtime and if  there are concerns about sleep disruptions invest in a good white noise machine or air purifier to ensure your toddler is well rested.  Also, if needed, enlisted help in getting your toddler to any activities that they participate in.
  • Reciprocal giving. Have your toddler give a gift to the baby when they are born. This can be a special hand-made art project or something store bought.  Also have the baby give a small gift to their older sibling at their first meeting.
  • Trust your mama instincts.  Family shifts often bring an excess of well-intended advice.  If it isn’t for your family, offer thanks and move on. If you know that something isn’t working for your child try a different approach.  If your child isn’t responding well to the “WOW, YOU’RE AN OLDER BROTHER!!” squeals when visitors come by, help ease the transition by asking friends and family to first acknowledge something about the older sibling. Perhaps, “I hear you that you are trying your best at music class!”  or “tell me about this fantastic drawing that you made?”
  • Don’t push it. If your toddler doesn’t want to talk about the baby on the way, or things aren’t going as smoothly as hoped, try to not be overbearing and give your child room to feel whatever they need to feel. Try to demonstrate kindness and compassion and be sure to fit in one-on-one time with your toddler to make them feel special.

A partnership with Huggies made me revisit these early years, as did my darling nephew’s welcoming of his sweet baby brother. Huggies creation of the Huggies Little Snugglers Registry Relief reminds parents how important it is to include diapers in a baby registry and NEW! Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers and Huggies Natural Care Wipes are a solid addition.  My sweet nephew has tested the above-mentioned products and the new GentleAbsorb liner with a cushioned layer of protection and multiple absorbent pillows helps to draw mess away from his delicate newborn skin.  The simple formula and gentle clean of the wipes provide proper cleansing without irritation.

Receive a free sample of Huggies Little Snugglers and Natural Care Wipes by visiting Huggies.com/SampleHug and also register your dream baby registry wish at Huggies.com/RegisterWish for a chance to make your wish a reality!

 

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SIX – A Birthday Letter

To My Darling Daughter,

A few evenings ago, while you were sleeping, your father and I quickly de-Christmased the house to celebrate six glorious years of you.  I gathered a bunch of your well-loved toys and arranged them on the mantel – My Little Pony’s and unicorns, farm animals and plastic insects, trolls and aliens, and a few odds and ends.  The arrangement was joyful and bizarre.  And peculiar.  And 100% you.

You were thrilled.

We celebrated you with a surprise trip to 5th Avenue to visit the American Girl Place – a doll store mecca I wasn’t sure we’d ever enter.  My, how time changes things.  We waited in line outside for quite some time, and when we finally walked through the doors, you intently studied the dolls enclosed in the glass casing.  As I watched your little hands press up against your reflection, searching for the doll that looked most like you – I couldn’t help but think about your growing sense of self, and increasing awareness for the world around you.

You vacillate between big and little.  Between wanting to identify common ground with your peers, and being 100% unabashedly you.  Between donning costumes and more accessories than a Christmas tree, to removing a prop in certain situations.  I can easily recall the familiar feeling of searching through metaphorical glass for something similar – something just like me.  Affirmation in a bigger girl’s voice.  A nod of approval.

Sometimes when I find myself worrying about the complexities of growing up – you remind me that you are navigating this ever-changing terrain just fine.  Like when you purchased the rock collection book at your school book fair, despite the fact that your friends told you to get the princess one.  Sometimes I still inwardly stress about you being the youngest (and littlest) in your grade, but I know that there is NOTHING small about you.  Just recently, a mother told me that when her daughter was taunted after a new haircut, you walked past unkind words, looked at your friend and said “You know what?  You are beautiful”.  

You make your mama’s heart swell. 

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My darling,  your name means light, and you undoubtedly personify that. Your magic is found in letting your light shine.  It is spread through your optimism, and eagerness to participate.  It is seen in the mountain of artwork that your feverishly create.   It is felt through your loving empathy and ability to quickly fill a tub with your toys to giveaway.  It is displayed in the shrines of acorn fairy homes (with accompanying stories) that you constantly construct in unexpected corners of our home.  And I now see it in a coveted 18″doll, ornately decorated and adorned with toys – wrapped in extraordinary childhood creativity.

Happy sixth birthday my love – you are truly coming into your own.  Please don’t ever be afraid to let your light shine because your presence continues to lift your family up in love…

…more love than I ever knew my heart could hold,

Mama

 

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The Morning Hustle

I have loved our fluid summer mornings.  The wake up brigade prances in with snuggles.  Our days begin and end with books.  Costumes are changed, smoothies are made, and open schedules allow for serious sibling play.

Mama is calm. Calm!!!

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While we are welcoming changes in the next few weeks, I’m a bit sad about letting my baby birds go.  With characters to help build and values to instill, I truly cherish our full days together.  Children are sponges and little mirrors.  They are constantly reminding me to watch my own behavior – as mama bird still has a pretty powerful influence on the sorts of  things that take permanent residence in their hearts and minds.  For me, motherhood is a perpetual cycle of self-evaluation.  I’m imperfect, but I want to be their best example.

I want to avoid being the school-morning chaos cultivator and somehow build upon the momentum of our peaceful summer starts.  I’m honestly pretty terrified.  With little ones to send off to two different schools (on our feet!) and an earlier start time, I know I need to figure out a system that works.

I have a few things in mind..earlier bedtimes, nighttime preparation, detailed kiddo charts, and time for morning silliness.  I want to listen to Adrian’s descriptions of  his food morphing into animal shapes as he eats.  And I want my children to walk out the door holding my hand with smiles on their faces.  I don’t want to loose my cool, and pray that the morning manic stays far far away.

I’m open to suggestions!!  And it you ever need a dose of  gratitude, as I often do, please read this article.

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Little Healers

I’ve spent the past two full days alone with my little boy as his big sister was enjoying a mini vacation with her grandparents. He truly is getting to be quite the big boy.  He loves the playground, having me read the same story over and over again, and the mere prospect of getting a toy ninja from a gumball machine.  He pushed his sun-tired little body as much as possible today and finally collapsed in my arms for a necessary break.  He awoke smiley and rested.  And my day seemed to take on a different course – after holding him in my arms for so long.  Tiny healer indeed.

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The Getup

Somewhere in toddler-hood, well before the age of two, Lucia became infatuated with dressing up.  I quickly fell in love with the imaginary play that accompanied it.  I remember her tears after her second birthday party because she didn’t want to take off her “beautiful dress”.  And that following summer she sported a felt pirate hat nearly every single day.  As Lucia has grown older, her love for wearing costumes hasn’t subsided,  and her fantasy-woven stories have become more elaborate.   A few days ago, I sent Lucia into her room alone to prepare for her swimming lessons while I waited outside with her stroller-sleeping brother.  She followed through with my instructions and returned wearing her bathing suit, with a bit of a surprise on topWe had just enough time to indulge in her Puppy Fairy antics at a nearby park prior to swimming lessons:


I’ve been thinking a lot about Lucia’s imagination and wondering how much longer this dress-up stage will last.  For now, we’re indulging in fantasy and perfectly appropriate little girl attire.

Dress: c/o Princess Expressions by Almar // Pooch Purse: c/o Poochie & Co // Headband made by me.

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On Bravery {a Pediped Review}

I watch my children jump, climb, hurdle and sprint.  Off the furniture, up the trees, over the rocks, down the street.  Every single day feels like a new risk, a greater lesson.

Adrian and Lucia are learning to be brave.   

So am I.

I’m learning to suppress the urge to helicopter, to yell “BE CAREFUL!!” or redirect their activity.

I want my children to be resilient.  I want them to develop their own internal compass and earned sense of confidence.  I want them to learn that it’s OK to fall and make mistakes.  

Adrian is wearing Pediped Flex Sahara Sandals in Blue – $49.99 – c/o Pediped

My children have worn both high end and discount brand shoes, and I’ve seen the results of improper footwear.  Splats on the pavement and cuts on little feet are things that I obviously want to avoid.  Pediped Originals were the first shoes worn by my children as they were the closest thing to bare feet (and American Podiatry Association approved).  Adrian has recently been rocking Pediped’s Flex Sahara Sandal in blue.  He likes the ease of being able to take them on and off by himself and I like the fact that the secure velcro closure can be fastened tightly for a proper fit. I’m also pleased with the rugged rubber sole that wraps around to fully encapsulate the toes, providing extra protection while keeping him cool.  I especially appreciate that I can fully clean off evidence of messy fun, as these water safe shoes are machine washable.

I’m a work in progress.  I will naturally always want to protect my cubs. For now, I’ll find comfort knowing that Adrian is well equipped for his daily antics.

Pediped provided me with the above shoes for review purposes.  All opinions in the post are my own.  

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