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!
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