A new baby is about to enter your home. Excitement is growing as the day of the event approaches. The room is prepared, boxes of toys, clothes and furniture is brought in. Then there is a baby shower and happy neighbours, friends and family bring gifts and there is much laughter and chatter about babies
Somewhere in the midst there is a two or three year old who is watching all the fuss. No amount of hugging or incidental promises will ease the growing anxiety that this new baby is very important, and is going to take over the existing love when it arrives.
Little ones don’t understand that love grows as the family grows.
In the modern family, more attention is given to the little ones who are already in the family. Some friends even bring little gifts for the older child when they bring gifts for the baby, but that growing anxiety is still smouldering in the mind of the little one.
To put out that smouldering unease, the expectant mom needs to involve the toddler in all aspects of the preparation.
The toddler should be included in age appropriate tasks during the pregnancy.
Take little one with you when you shop for the baby’s layette. Let the little one choose an outfit for the new baby. The toddler can draw a picture for the baby’s nursery. Let the toddler pick a toy for the new baby.
There is so much the toddler can do; you must just be creative and sensitive to the toddler’s unease.
Remember to prepare the little one for your absence when you eventually plan to have the baby. Whoever is going to take care of the toddler must not be a stranger and effort should be made to let this experience be as natural as possible.
Negative experiences at this stage could influence the relationship of the siblings for the rest of their lives. It up to you, mom and dad, help your toddler to welcome the little stranger into your hearts and your home.
© Teresa Denton