It can be tough for a toddler to welcome a new baby into his life. It’s perfectly normal for your firstborn to be jealous of your newborn. He might feel that he’s being replaced or grow to resent the baby for taking up his parents’ time.

Here are a few tips on how to help your toddler transition and enjoy the new sibling:

Prepare while pregnant:

Do your research in the beginning stages of your pregnancy so that you can help your child get accustomed to the idea of a new sibling before he/she arrives. There are many helpful books and articles written on the subject; read what you can so you have options.

  • Let your child be involved with the process. When you tell your child that you are having a baby, make sure you and your partner do it together. Be ready to explain how the family is going to change. Allow your child to ask questions.
  • Let your child have a say in what color the nursery should be and how to decorate. When you go in for an ultrasound, make it a family event. If you have a baby shower, invite your child along for the festivities and let her know that she is a major part of it as well. If you choose to find out the sex of the baby, find a fun way to share the news with your child.

While at the hospital:

  • Make your firstborn feel important. suggests that you welcome your firstborn with a big hug when she comes to see you after the birth. Give her your undivided attention before showing her the baby. Ask visitors to greet your toddler first instead of heading right for the baby. Talk about how lucky the baby is to have her as a big sister.

When your baby comes home:

  • Stick to the schedule. Keep your daily life as close to the normal schedule as possible. For example: if you usually pick your son up at daycare at 4, try to make sure you can continue to do that after the baby arrives. Keep snack time, dinner time, and bedtime routines normal as well. This might be difficult to do, but by keeping to the schedule that he has grown accustomed to, your son will have some familiarity in his life. If you feel that a change in schedule is imminent after the baby comes, it’s best to start that new schedule prior to the baby’s arrival. That way your son won’t feel like it’s his new sister’s fault that his schedule has changed.
  • Accept help. As always, be willing to accept help from those around you. Have a family member come over for an hour so that you and your partner can take your older child out for an ice cream treat, a walk, or a trip to the park.

Even if you follow all the self-help books and articles that tell you how to help your child get ready for the new baby, your firstborn might still have bouts of jealousy. Hang in there, and stick to your plan.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Nursery via photopin (license)