Easing Your Toddler Into the Older Sibling Role [Guest Post by All the Joys]

Take every class.  Eat the right foods.  Drink a lot of water.  Decorate the nursery and clean the clothes.  This is what life is like while waiting for the first baby to arrive.  It's a bit different waiting for the second.  I was constantly worried about how my then three year old would adjust, and how I could possibly parent two children with enough love for both!

Luckily, I came up with a few ideas that helped ease my toddler in to her new role of "big sister".  As Kaity adjusts to life with two, I thought I'd share a few of these things in hopes of making each day a little easier for mom, baby, and siblings.

  1. Make a snack station.  Fill a container with easy to grab ready to go snacks.  Some ideas include applesauce pouches, fruit snacks, etc.  You can even pre-fill snack sized baggies with pretzels, Goldfish, popcorn and other dry items.  Keep this in an area that your older sibling can help themselves too.
  2. In addition to the snack station, pre-fill some sippy cups (or whatever your child uses) with their drink of choice and keep them in arms reach in the fridge.  With a new baby, you won't always have both hands available, so this way you can just open the door and they can grab their drink.
  3. Have a "Big Sister/Big Brother" box that includes quiet, busy toys that you can take out while feeding or rocking the baby to sleep.  Include new crayons and coloring books, sticker sheets, figurines of their favorite characters, whatever you know they'll love.  It's important for them to know that these are special toys that they get when you need them to entertain themselves.
  4. Make sure you do something every day that is only with the older sibling.  Besides cuddle time at night, my older daughter and I would go for a walk when Daddy got home from work.  I think the one on one time with me really helped with her transition!
  5. Let him/her help!  Have them get a new diaper for you, or hold the bottle.  Give them a special task like finding a paci for the baby - anything to help them feel included.
  6. This next one is important.  When people come to meet the baby, be sure to have them focus on the older sibling first.  The baby will never know that they weren't swooned over right away, but older brother/sister will definitely remember feeling like second best.  I would always start the visit with "Tell "so and so" about what you did this morning!" to make the focus on her first.

For those mamas of two or more, what tips and tricks do you have for the rest of us? Adjusting to life with two or more children can be chaotic, but it should be such a joyful experience for everyone involved!

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Want to see more of Meagan's thoughts on parenting? Visit her at All the Joys!

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