Local blogger shares 6 ways to encourage sibling bonding between your toddler and your new baby.
All mommies dream of watching their toddler fall in love with their infant sibling. The instant love-bond isn’t guaranteed, so naturally we all stress a little over creating this irreplaceable connection. I remember thinking, “How am I going to get my sass queen who loves to pitch a good fit at the most inopportune times to be calm and gentle around this new baby growing in my belly?” What can you do to help your children be kind and caring towards one another? I have 6 simple suggestions:
- Share your pregnancy with your toddler. Explain to her that you are growing a baby for the family and point out the baby’s features on your sonograms. Have conversations with your toddler about what she can teach her new sibling.
- Allow your toddler to visit the new baby in the hospital and encourage her to bring something special to share with the baby. Our toddler brought her favorite blankie. Small toys would work too.
- Make bathtime a bonding opportunity. We bathe our infant in a sink tub, so our toddler sits on the counter to help. Everyone giggles when she decorates him with bubbles. She also enjoys unplugging the tub when the bath is over!
- Read to your children and have your toddler point out features she thinks her new baby might want to learn. My toddler identifies animals and tries to teach him the noise each one makes. He laughs when she snorts like the pig.
- Teach your toddler to soothe the baby. I taught mine how to give her brother his pappy. She feels so accomplished when she contributes to making him “not sad anymore.”
- Give each of your children 15 minutes of uninterrupted “mommy time” every day. “Mommy time” will help prevent some of the jealousy and resentment you have probably read about. Your toddler will feel more comfortable with her new baby if she still feels special to you.
My mom always taught us to celebrate our siblings’ successes and to respect one another’s differences. I adore my brothers- I even lived with one throughout college. Now, my husband (an only child) is also close to them. I want the same bond for my children. Overall, I think allowing your toddler to participate in caring for a new baby, giving her adequate mommy time and praying often is a great place to start.