Today I am exactly 37 weeks pregnant with my second child and this topic has been on my mind for a while…how do I get my toddler ready for the arrival of a new baby?
Expecting a new baby is an exciting time in a family’s life, but a toddler may find it to be somewhat unsettling. They don’t have the capacity to fully grasp what’s going on, but they do tend to be excited about a new baby.
I’ve worked with many parents who have gone through this same situation and so today I want to share some tips on how deal with and sleep regressions and the jealousy that your toddler will be feeling.
Toddler Sleep Regressions
Many times toddlers tend to go through a sleep regression when a new baby arrives. Parents often times feel a little guilty that they’re bringing another child into their toddler’s life and worry about upsetting them. After all, parents still want their little one to know that he’s special and loved.
When parents feel guilty, they begin to loosen their rules and boundaries, and this is exactly what we want to avoid. Why? This will only make your toddler feel even more insecure because now not only is there a new baby in her home, but rules and expectations aren’t the same. As a result, your toddler will also begin testing boundaries and push you more than ever because they’re now uncertain about where the boundaries lay. If you start to back away from the rules and boundaries you’ve established, you’ll notice that your toddler’s behavior will be worse, but it’s crucial to be consistent.
Healthy Ways to Alleviate Guilt
I’d encourage you to ease that guilt you may be feeling by carving out some one-on-one time with your toddler. If someone else can watch your newborn, or while your newborn is sleeping your can spend 30 minutes playing or reading to your toddler. You could also plan a special outing to the park with just the two of you. The jealously that your toddler will be feeling stems from Mom’s time being occupied by your newborn. Your toddler may feel that she’s not getting enough attention so making time for the two of you, even if it’s just for a short period during the day, will help to reduce your toddler’s jealousy.
Introducing Your Toddler to the Baby
Starting the Live Love Sleep newborn program with your baby is a wonderful way to introduce your toddler to your new baby. Your newborn will be out with then family, and then he will go away for a nap for a couple hours. He’ll come out again to be with the family. Then go away again. Your toddler may find it really exciting when the newborn shows up because he’ll be asleep in his crib quite a bit and your toddler won’t see him.
Remember that jealousy your toddler is feeling comes from now having mom around this new baby 24/7 and your toddler not getting enough time or attention from you. By starting with a clear plan for your newborn and allowing him to develop great sleep habits right from the start will only help with your toddler issues.
The Bedtime Routine
Your toddler may be jealous that the baby gets to stay up, but she has to go to bed. After all, most newborn babies are going to be up until Mom goes to bed herself. A possible solution for this is to have one of the parents take the newborn out of the bedtime routine experience for the toddler. For example, have Dad go into another room with your newborn while you spend some quality time with your toddler during the bedtime routine. Just remember, you have to be firm that it is bedtime. You can always tell her that the baby has gone to bed too.
If you’re currently pregnant or have a newborn and want to be proactive to help your little one develop healthy sleep habits, I’d recommend the prenatal and newborn sleep program. In this package, we will cover the basics of teaching your baby healthy sleep habits now so you don’t have sleep challenges down the road!
Simply give me a call at (832) 640-5492, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this e-mail with any questions you might have. I’m here to help!
To healthy sleep,
Certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant
Live Love Sleep, LLC
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