He seemed happy in the picture next to his newly born baby sister. But that was not the reality. The truth is, it took my 2-year-old son a long time to come to peace with the new intruder in the house.
The moment we brought baby Valerie back from the hospital, that’s when the newborn toddler drama began.
I didn’t get it. I had done everything to prepare my toddler for the arrival of the baby.
I read books about siblings for months, showed him baby pictures, and even allowed him to touch my stomach when the baby was kicking.
I went as far as telling all potential visitors to bring little gifts for him as well.
Yet, our family and friends were excited about meeting the new baby and he felt ignored.
In a short time, he wanted to go back to bottles, started crying frequently, and he suddenly forgot about all his toilet training.
Older children might experience resentment, confusion, and anger. Some areas may be affected such as their overall behavior, eating habits, and toilet training.
The type of behavior that you should be expecting, however, depends on their specific age group. Toddlers are especially attached to you and don’t understand the reason they have to share you with a new baby.
Here are Some Suggestions on How to Handle Newborn Toddler Drama
- Acknowledge your toddler’s feelings and reframe them. Tell him that you understand that he might feel he has to share you with the new baby and that might make him feel a little sad. Reframe the situation by telling him that he can help you with the baby and that he will have a play partner all the time.
- Ignore the regressions and offer praise for his or her “big brother” behaviors and actions. Reward the good behaviors you want to continue and ignore the bad behaviors. Remember that this is your toddler’s way of getting your full attention.
- Spend time one-on-one with your toddler drama and create special routines with him during toilet training, meantime, and bedtime.
- Assign special jobs and incorporate them into your routines and rituals for your toddler. Allow your toddler to become your “helper” at different times of the day such as getting your child ready for a bath or preparing a bottle.
- If your toddler attends preschool, remind him how fun it is to attend school and learn new things.
- Plan major milestones ahead of time as your toddler might feel overwhelmed by all the changes in his routines due to his unexpected arrival. You can finish toilet training or move him to a “big” bed before the baby arrives, or you can postpone it. Your toddler will be ready to learn once you settle into your new routine.
During their last visit from college I asked them both why siblings are important. They both looked at each other and agreed that a sibling makes you the person you are, helps you develop assertiveness, and becomes your best friend for life.
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By Marnie Forestieri