With a new baby arriving any day now the excitement is tempered by the worry of how my toddler is going to react to the new family member. In a last minute panic I decided to go on a road trip with my two-year old to visit his Nana and Grandad at the beach. The exercise was to fit in some last minute one-on-one time before being distracted by a very needy newborn baby.
My buddy and I spent the weekend making sand castles, climbing rocks, walking to the park, pretend play and reading books. During the weekend routine I kept trying to sneak in one particular book 'There's Going To Be A Baby'! This book was recommended to me to introduce a toddler to the idea of a new baby arriving. Unfortunately the line in the book he most liked was 'Mummy, can't you tell the baby to go away? We don't really need the baby do we?' So that didn't work so well.
Out of panic I trawled the baby blogs for some other ideas about how to soften the blow. Some simple things I came across that made perfect sense were,
* let the toddler choose a present to give the baby when he visits hospital and have a present ready to give your toddler from the baby
* don't be holding the baby when your toddler first comes to hospital, have it in the cot so you can greet it together
Well this seems a breeze!
While looking into this I realised the hardest lesson was going to be teaching my toddler the magic word 'wait'. Waiting involves delaying gratification and realising that there are other family members that are just as important as they are.
Yikes! meeting the baby is going to be the easy part.
I called on some trusty friends for additional pearls of wisdom,
* make a morning lunch box for your toddler so when you are feeding the baby the toddler can sit with you and have a snack too
* ensure your toddler has a life outside of you, a day at kindy or set activity is perfect but try to have this already in place
* try to encourage a special bond with another family member (e.g grandparent, godparent) or trusted carer so your child can spend special time with them
Some positive messages must have sunk in as on the way home in the car my buddy piped up " When is the baby coming, Mummy. I want to see the baby.... !!
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