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Child Development

Preventing Sibling Rivalry

by Melissa Ingold

As expecting parents of another baby, you will no longer be able to give the first child your undivided attention as he/she has come to expect. The best time to let your child in on this new arrival is right away. This will give you much more time to prepare your toddler for a sibling. It will baffle them at first, because mommy's tummy looks the same as it always did. But as the baby inside grows, so will your toddlers understanding. It is important to involve your toddler in every aspect of this new baby. Here are some ways you can do that.

  • If it is allowed, have your toddler go with you to your ultrasound so that he/she can share in the excitement of seeing the baby inside mommy's tummy for the first time.
  • Most pl will send you home with pictures from the ultrasound, when talking to your toddler about the baby bring out the pictures to refer to.
  • As your tummy gets bigger, and others can feel movement, be sure to share this with your toddler. Feeling the baby move in your tummy will help to make the baby more real to him/her.
  • Talk with your toddler about how they can help with the baby. For talk to him/her about how the baby will have to have a bath, and that they can help to wash the baby, put lotion on the baby, get diapers for the baby and so on. This will help your toddler understand that he/she will be involved when the baby gets here.
  • If you are having a baby shower for the second baby, be sure to include your toddler. It will be fun for them to join in on any activities that involve the baby, like helping mommy open presents. I know my toddler enjoys opening presents whether they are for her or not.
  • Take your toddler baby shopping with you and involve them in the selecting out of the baby items. This will make them feel helpful rather then jealous of all the stuff the baby is getting.
  • Read stories that talk about the baby inside mommy's tummy and the arrival of the baby into the world.
  • Provide a baby doll that comes with accessories like a bottle and bathtub. Play with and show them how to hold the baby, feed the baby and give the baby a bath. It will help to prepare them for the baby's arrival.
  • When the baby is born, make sure your toddler gets to the hospital for a visit with their new sibling and to see mommy. It will be astonishing to them to see the new baby as a real live person, as well as spend some time with mommy. It will help prevent jealously of the baby for being with mommy for the time you are in the hospital.

With the arrival of your toddler's sibling, home life becomes more hectic and tiring. However, as difficult as it may be, your toddler needs one on one time with mommy. The ideal time for this would be when the baby is sleeping. Try to work in a time that is most appropriate and stick to that time everyday. Your toddler will look forward to this time, and you will have less of fuss when you are with the baby. Here are some suggestions that will keep your toddler happy.

  • Read a story or sing songs.
  • Cuddle up and watch a favourite movie together, this will be quiet and relaxing for you both.
  • Colour or have fun with an activity book and stickers.
  • Have him/her help you bake cookies or another treat.
  • Have your toddler pull up a chair to help you with dishes and just talk to him/her. It provides them with much needed quality mommy time, as well getting a household chore accomplished. Another quality time, household chore combined is folding laundry. Have your toddler hand you the clothes from the basket to be folded. They love helping out!
  • Bring the baby monitor outside and play with your toddler in the yard.

No matter what you choose to do with your toddler, make sure that you leave the baby out of your time together. Don't even mention the baby, unless your toddler talks about it, because this will prove to be more successful for their one on one time, which means a happier toddler. As much as your toddler would love to have mommy and daddy all to themselves, it's just not possible. So, remember to involve your toddler in the baby's activities like bathing, feeding, changing, and playing. This will show your toddler that you and the baby need them. When your toddler is in bed for the night, you and your husband will have time to be alone to bond with your second child. As distressing as it may seem at first, eventually you will be able to work all the kinks out of your new routine. From time to time, you can expect some fuss and anger from your toddler, but it will be short lived as they become more aware that the new baby is there to stay.

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