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I could really use some ideas for small, simple ways to make my toddler DS feel special and attended to with a new baby in the house! Brainstorming just isn’t my strong point these days!
My first two children are 4 years & 3 1/2 months apart in age, and my last two are 2 1/2 years in age, so I’ve never exactly had a baby and toddler together. Even so, it can definitely be an adjustment for everyone!
Babywearing was my saving grace. I was able to wear my son in the sling and still attend to my other children. I eventually got the hang of even nursing in it. If possible, keep drinks for your toddler ready to go (in a cooler by the couch etc.) along with snacks s/he can get him/herself, like sliced fruit, pre-portioned baggies of crackers, string cheese etc. Do the same for yourself too!
Keep a tote bag of activities for your child like coloring books and crayons, books for you to read together and quiet games that you can play while sitting. Depending on your child’s age, you can play go fish, tic tac toe or board games.
If you allow television, have a few fun movies on hand for those times when you’re exhausted or the baby is fussy and you just need a little break.
I also recommend getting your toddler involved in taking care of his/her new sibling. Allow him/her to choose the diaper when it’s time for a change, hand you wipes, put the diaper in the pail etc. If your budget allows, get your toddler a baby doll, some play diapers/wipes and a sling or carrier to play with along side you.
Do you have tips?
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Just make sure the older ones know they are loved too! Maybe a special little gift for them. Include them in what you are doing. Changing baby? Why not ask them to get out a wipe or diaper? Feeding baby? Let them help hold the bottle. etc. Kids appreciate ANY attention and love 🙂
With my 3rd I made each of my older 2 kids their own diaper bags, I filled them with baby essentials, play bottles, play diapers and wipes, play burp cloths, extra baby clothes, ect. for their toys. My son’s kit was for his bear “Animal” and when I brought the baby home my son (he was 2) was ALL over doing things for his bear while I did things for the baby. Made things easier, since my older daughter was 6 she was much more helpful, so it kept my son out of the way (I guess that sounds bad, but really, it just made life easier).
My daughter was born three days before my son turned two–poor kid had to have his birthday party in my hospital room! He responded really well to being my helper. I would ask him to do small tasks (“Can you go find _____ for me?”) while I was nursing or whatever and then I’d make a big deal over how helpful he was being when he accomplished the task. I also made a point of spending time with him while the baby was sleeping. We’d read books, do puzzles, color, play cars, whatever he wanted to do. My husband was pretty instrumental as well, taking our son out on weekends for “Guy Time”–usually a trip to Waffle House and Home Depot. 🙂
I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old. We bought a baby doll to teach him to be gentle with the new baby, but other than that didn’t do much, and they get along GREAT! (I actually think it’s a benefit of having the kids close together – he won’t remember what it’s like to be the only child, so there’s nothing to resent!) I do try to limit the times I have to say that I can’t do something with him because of the baby, so I do like to make sure he has a fun snack or something to do while I nurse, and if I DO have to tell him to wait till I’m done with the baby, I try to make sure I follow up immediately and do what I told him I’d do (it helps that my baby is pretty mellow, so she makes it easy). I also try to emphasize what a great big brother he is being (“Look how Emily is SMILING at you! She loves it when you’re so gentle and give her kisses! What a great big brother you are! You make Emily so HAPPY and that makes Mommy and Daddy so happy too!” He thinks giving her kisses or bringing her his blankie is the BEST game now!) I do think some of it is personality, too, though. He’s more excited about the baby than I would have guessed, but not because of anything we did.
Thank you!!!! This came just in time!!! I had my baby boy on Feb. 6 and I have 2 four year old and a 1 year old at home. My newbie is in ICU right now.
Thank you 🙂