How To Introduce Your Toddler To A New Sibling

A couple of weeks ago, I shared how we prepared our toddler for the arrival of a new baby brother or sister. After months of attempting to prep him for his sibling’s big arrival, the day finally came where we could introduce them to each other. You know, without my stomach being in the way. Here’s what we learnt from introducing our toddler to his new sister and things that can help you make that meeting go as smoothly as possible.

Yes, she did look like an angry fist-pumping thug at their first meeting… ahhh, memories.

Gifts All Round

Let’s start with the age old tradition of letting the baby bring a gift for the older child. There’s a reason it’s such a popular thing to do… it helps. It doesn’t have to be anything big and flashy, in fact I’d go for more of an activity than anything else. In our case, the baby gave her brother a sticker book and some toy cars; both things that he loves and that will happily entertain him for a while with minimal input from us adults.

On the flip side, don’t forget to allow your toddler to give a gift to their new sibling. If you can, allow them to choose what they give (little tip: pick two things that you approve of and ask them to choose which of the two items they’d like to give rather than giving them free rein). Make a big fuss about what a kind person they are for giving such a lovely present to their new brother or sister. In our house, this went down a treat. Every time she reaches for her bunny he’ll say ‘I gave her that, didn’t I?’. Cute cute cute.

Take Things At Their Pace

Whilst to you it’s a momentous occasion, to them it’s a brief and kind of annoying distraction from their normal routine. They have no concept that this tiny bundle is going to be sticking around but they’ll get there in time. Let them decide how long their meet and greet is, if it’s barely even a eye-raise in the baby’s direction, don’t worry. There’s plenty of time for them to get to know each other at their own speed.

Don’t Over Fuss

Leading on from taking things slowly, my next tip would be not to create too much fuss about it. Don’t over analyse it, don’t try and force them to interact or to sit in a certain way. As tempting as it is to want to take photos every two seconds, to a toddler that’s incredibly boring. In fact, they’ll probably end up wanting to dump the baby and get on with real life. On that note, make sure you’re ready for that moment when they decide they’ve had enough and drop the baby without any notice.

Give Them A Job

Encourage them to help you with things like getting nappies or holding the new baby to help. Ask them to join you in singing a song to the baby if they start crying. Giving them a role allows them to start to understand their position in the new order and that they can look after the baby with you. Plus, it comes in really handy in the future weeks when you need them to grab a new nappy mid-poo explosion.

Enjoy The Moment

How often do you get the chance to see siblings meet for the first time, ever? You only get this time once so my best piece of advice would be to soak it up. Put aside your worries about getting the perfect photo, that they won’t get along or that they instantly fall in love. Instead focus on how big your elder child looks in comparison, see the glimmers of a future friendship and enjoy the moment of being surrounded by some of your favourite people. Consider this the calm before the mayhem!

If you’re pregnant, why not take a look at our pregnancy calendar? Packed with lots of useful info and insights into each week of pregnancy as well as links to some of our most popular pregnancy posts! 

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6 Comments

  1. 17th October 2018 / 7:46 am

    Thank you for this post! I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant with my second child, and have been feeling a little apprehensive as to how my three year old son will react. We’ve done all the things you’ve listed here and he seems relatively chilled about the whole thing, so I’m hoping this will be a good sign for things to come! I think what you said about not trying to push anything and let it happen naturally is key here, and I love the idea of my son giving the new baby a present.
    Gemma x | HiddenLittleGem.com

    • DevonMamaOnline
      Author
      19th October 2018 / 4:14 pm

      Ahh you’ll love it! My son was my biggest worry the entire time, I felt so guilty about not having time for him and his whole world changing but he accepted it so well. Honestly, I think just letting them lead the way is the easiest and most effective thing to do (and obviously bribery with gifts doesn’t hurt!!) x

  2. Rhia
    17th October 2018 / 8:15 am

    This is a lovely post! Hope to have a sibling for our boy someday, will be bearing all this in mind!

    • DevonMamaOnline
      Author
      19th October 2018 / 4:12 pm

      Ah thank you, it’s such a minefield, I’m sure there’s no real wrong way to do it!!

  3. 31st October 2018 / 2:58 pm

    Definitely needed to read this….I hope that Dex does as well as your little boy when it comes to getting used to having a new face around.

    • DevonMamaOnline
      Author
      2nd November 2018 / 9:04 am

      He will, and if he doesn’t then he’ll just have to! There’s no way that baby’s going back in!

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