Join   Sign In  

10 Ways to Get Your Toddler Ready for a New Baby


When you have one child and another on the way, getting the firstborn ready for a sibling is top order of business. Check out these ideas for prepping your little one for a new baby.

1. Hit the Books

a mom reading a book to her son

Bookstores and libraries are rife with picture books about new babies and the roles of big brothers and big sisters. Pick up a few and spend some time reading them to your toddler and talking about how life with your new baby will be.

2. Get Them Involved

a child doing some painting

Get your little one excited about a new sibling by involving him in the preparations. Let him choose toys, clothes, and blankets for the baby (accept the fact that he might temporarily claim some of the baby's things as his own). He can also "help" you set up the nursery and organize the baby gear.

3. Adopt a Baby Doll

Child girl playing doctor role game examining her doll

Pick up a special baby doll for your toddler and let her practice being a big sister. Show her how to gently touch and play with the doll, letting her know that her baby sibling will need the same gentle care. You can also demonstrate how you'll put on a diaper, feed, carry, and burp the baby, while gently emphasizing that these are special jobs that only grown-ups can do.

4. Make Time

a mom cuddling her baby on a hammock

It can be hard to fit it in, but try to make sure you spend alone time with your firstborn. Even if he seems to be highly accepting of the new baby, he was the sole recipient of your affection for a long time. It's important to give him special attention and reinforce the notion that although there will be a new baby in the house who also needs you, you won't love him any less.

5. Take It Out

a pregnant mom talking to her child

Try to speak frequently about the new baby prior to her arrival and gently identify some ways in which life for your firstborn will change (i.e. your toddler might have to share your lap sometimes). Emphasize that babies have special needs because they are so little and stress what the big brother or sister can do to welcome her to the family.

6. Meet Other Babies

a group of babies sitting together

Spend some time around small babies to help your toddler become accustomed to their unique needs and actions. It may help your child to see other babies cry, nurse, take a bottle, and play.

7. Make It Real

Happy family waiting for baby looking ultrasound pregnant

"A baby in mama's belly" is an abstract concept for kids. Make it real by letting your toddler feel your stomach when the baby kicks. You could also bring your little one along to an ultrasound or look through the photos together afterwards.

8. Pull Out the Baby Pictures

a mom and her daughter reading a book together

Point out that your little one was a tiny baby not that long ago, and you have the pictures to prove it! Spend some time with her looking through her newborn pictures and pull out any old baby clothes you kept for her to check out.

9. Stock the Freezer

a pregnant mom holding her son

The more prepared you are for the new baby, the more relaxed and patient you'll be able to be with all of your kids. So aim to have a freezer stocked with meals, friends and relatives lined up to help out, and a housekeeper hired (or a clean house on hold) prior to baby's arrival. You'll be happy to have the extra time to focus on and cuddle with your little ones during those first months with a new baby.

10. Make a Countdown Calendar

a mom holding her newborn baby

Waiting for a new baby can be so hard for kids! One way to stay patient and excited for the new baby is by crafting a countdown calendar together; just cut strips of construction paper and loop them together to make a chain. Make this about a month before your due date and let your toddler remove a loop each day. It will help your little one understand that the baby she's been hearing about for so very long is really finally coming.

3 10 Ways to Get Your Toddler to Take a Bath
10 Ways to React to Your Toddler's Whining 4

You Might Like