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.
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!