Getting your toddler ready to welcome your new arrival is often a worry; how do you help your little one understand they’ll be sharing mummy’s time and attention from now on? To find out more, we asked our Mother & Baby mums to share their top tips – one to read if you’re extending your brood.
- Talk to them a lot about the baby, show them the scan photos and share the excitement. Also talk about things you can do when the baby arrives – like making footprints with paint and singing songs to the baby, so they know they’ll still be involved when the baby arrives.
- Take your little one to midwife appointments with you so they can listen to the baby and read books about birth and babies.
- Find books to read at bedtime that help explain what’s happening. One of our mums recommends ‘There’s a house inside my mummy’, which really helped her three-year-old understand her pregnancy.
- Encourage your little one to touch your tummy and feel the baby moving.
- Involve your tot as much as you can; take them shopping and ask them to pick clothes and toys for their new brother or sister, or ask them to help decorate the nursery.
- Chantelle told us, ‘We spoke to him about it and at the time he had an obsession with dinosaurs, so we explained that it was like I was growing a dinosaur egg in my tummy. He spent the first six months telling people we were having a baby dinosaur, but they bonded before I even had her and are best friends now.’
- Get them involved from the start; when you go for your first scan, tell them it’s because you’re finding out if there is a baby in mummy’s tummy. Play games guessing whether it’s a boy or a girl. Just keep talking about it at every stage so by the time the baby arrives they are more than ready to welcome their new brother or sister.
- Lots of mums recommend buying a doll for your little one, so they can feed and bath their baby when you do. Louise told us she also got a changing bag, bibs and bottle for the doll, so they could copy and understand once the baby came along, without feeling left out.
- Katie made her daughter a hamper with a ‘congratulations you’re a big sister’ card, in which they explained how proud they were of her, a book about being a big sister, and a t-shirt saying ‘I’m a big sister’.
- Buy your little one a present from the bump for when they come and visit you in hospital.
- Talk about the baby and help your little one understand the jobs they’ll be able to help you with once their little brother or sister arrives. Get them to choose a toy for the bump and if you want to, ask them to help you pick names for the baby.
- Encourage your tot to ask questions about the baby.
- If you can, take your little one to your scans with you, so they can see the baby moving on the screen.
- As your due date approaches, explain to them what will happen on the day you give birth – where they will go and that they’ll be able to meet their brother and sister very soon.
- Maggie told us, ‘I read somewhere that I shouldn’t be holding the new baby when my three-year-old came to meet her and I’m glad I wasn’t. I hadn’t seen my daughter for three days so she wanted to cuddle up to me straight away. After the initial relief of seeing me, she was interested in the baby.’
- If you don’t know the gender of your new arrival, play guessing games with your little one.
Have you got any tips not mentioned here? Add them to the comments below.