In about 20 weeks (give or take), life will be shifting into a new place for our family. We’ll be entering new and unchartered territory as we add another little one to our family. Our toddler will suddenly become a baby sister to this new baby brother, and with that will definitely come an adjustment period.
I’m incredibly excited for this new adventure, but hearing from other parents who’ve gone through it, I realize that there can also be some challenges. Because of this, I’m attempting to be intentional in preparing our toddler for the new baby’s arrival.
Here are a few things we’re doing to help get her ready.
1. Seizing teachable moments. We’re talking about the upcoming arrival of baby brother… a lot. We’re reading books about it and pointing out other big sisters we see and talking about all the fun things we’ll get to do together once the baby arrives. Even a little play time at the easel can become a teachable moment for talking about our expanding family.
2. Engaging her in my midwife appointments. We’re planning a home birth and one of the most wonderful benefits about it is that all of my prenatal appointments get to take place in my own home. My toddler gets to be at every appointment and she LOVES hearing the baby’s heartbeat. It provides yet another opportunity to remind her of our impending arrival and to get her prepared for it by helping her to feel included.
3. Role playing with dolls. Engaging our toddler in role play with dolls is an obvious way to prepare her for how to interact with a baby. We talk about being gentle, using quiet voices, and we practice changing diapers and feeding — all things she will need to get used to doing fairly soon.
4. Spending time with friends who have babies. I know that a new baby will definitely be a transition for my daughter, but she actually really loves babies, which I’m hoping will work in our favor. In the interim, I’m going out of my way to have her spend time with our friends who have little babies. Hopefully it will get her excited about having one of her own and teach her about how to interact positively with tiny ones.
5. Giving her “big girl” jobs. I realize that things are going to be a bit chaotic at first as we settle into our new routine and any extra help will be much appreciated. I’m starting to give my daughter “big girl jobs” now and asking for her help when I can. It gives her a sense of pride to help out and is helpful for me too! Even just small tasks like grabbing a diaper will be so nice with a newborn around.