Durban - Local childcare expert and author Sister Ann Richardson gives advice on on how to ensure your toddler adjusts smoothly to life with a new sibling:
When you return home with the new baby, present her with a gift from her new sibling. A doll and accessories is always a good idea.
Avoid saying 'don't touch the baby' too much. Credit: sxc.hu
Your toddler will play up and demand your attention just when you can’t give it, so expect her demands to intensify, especially if you have just sat down to feed the baby! To the best of your ability always attend to her needs first – this will make her feel secure.
Have a pile of storybooks handy and place one of her little chairs alongside your feeding chair, so that she can sit with you and read a story when you feed the baby. She will start to look forward to this special time.
When visitors arrive to see the new baby, let her show them to the nursery, and allow her to help open the baby’s gift, this way she will feel included.
Avoid saying “don’t touch the baby” too much. She will cotton on that touching the baby gets your attention and will continue to do it. If possible ignore it (unless she is feeding the baby a Nik Nak, or holding him upside down!). Never leave her alone with the new baby.
Stick to your toddler’s routine scrupulously – it will make the whole family feel more secure.
Expect a regression in your toddler’s behaviour. She may demand a bottle or dummy again, or start wetting her bed. Keep calm, give her what she asks for, and know that it will pass with time.
Try to spend some special time alone with your toddler every day, even if it means quiet time in the garden for 20 minutes.
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