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How To Prepare Your Toddler For Baby’s Arrival

Love this pic and these 2 boys💙💙

Once you’re far enough along in your pregnancy to know baby is healthy and viable, it’s totally fine to start talking to your toddler about his future sister or brother. If your toddler is on the young side—between 1 and 2—she may be pretty clueless about what’s coming. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the preparation. If she’s a bit older—between 2 and 4—there are plenty of things you can do to prepare her to welcome a younger sibling. Below are a few things that may help your toddler cope when baby arrives.

• Start teaching your toddler to wait. The no. 1 thing your toddler will need when the new baby arrives: patience! We’re not suggesting your toddler should wait without complaint all the time, but if he’s used to you being at his beck and call for every demand, it will be an adjustment. Allana Robinson, parenting effectiveness coach and child behavior strategist at AllanaRobinson.com suggests, “When your toddler asks you to do something, progressively have him wait for longer periods of time. Get him used to waiting before baby arrives so it isn’t baby’s ‘fault’ when he doesn’t immediately get his juice or when he has to wait while you nurse baby before you can play trains.”

• Visit a friend who has a baby. This is a great way to help even the youngest toddler understand what’s coming, since she’ll be able to actually see the baby (instead of just your growing bump). After the visit, you can explain that soon, your home will have a baby of its very own, just like the home you visited. This will get the wheels turning in your toddler’s mind, so she can start to imagine a baby in her home.

• Show pictures and videos of him when he was a baby. One of the best ways to help your toddler understand that he won’t be playing second fiddle forever is to pull out his baby book or show him some pictures and videos of when he was an infant. This will help him to understand that once, he was totally dependent on Mom and Dad too, just like baby will be at first. Robinson says, “This helps your toddler begin to understand that infancy isn’t a permanent thing, which is a very difficult and abstract concept for young children.”

• Spend one-on-one time together. While you want your toddler to be prepared, you also want things to feel as normal as possible throughout the changes — and that means making sure she knows you’ll always love her and that she’ll always be very special to you. Make it a point to spend one-on-one time with her now and plan to continue to do that once baby arrives too.

• Introduce sharing. Once a sibling’s on the scene, sharing will become a big part of your toddler’s life. It’s a tricky concept for a toddler to grasp, especially if he hasn’t had to do it before. Be sure to praise any behavior that resembles sharing; holding up an object to show a playmate even qualifies. Make sure your toddler sees you praising other children who are showing signs of sharing too.

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