How to Prepare Your Toddler for a Newborn

two young girls smiling with their sibling. how to prepare your toddler for a newborn

Expanding your family is such an exciting adventure to embark on. Having more than one child leads to a whole new world or fun. However, one of the most common questions that arises during this time is how to prepare your toddler for a newborn. Having a toddler and a newborn may sound like a handful, but it can also be incredible rewarding! Let’s get into it!

How to Prepare Your Toddler for a Newborn

Play Pretend

My personal favorite way to prepare your toddler for a newborn is to engage in some imaginative play with them. This helps input the idea into their heads that a new baby is coming, what to expect, and how to behave. You can play pretend by using a baby doll. If you can, go for an interactive baby doll. This means, one that makes noise or that you can get wet. The reason for this is because the more realistic you can be, the better prepared your toddler will be for their new sibling.

You can run through your expected newborn routine with them, show them how to play with their sibling, and answer any questions they may have! This is an opportunity to prepare them for their sibling, but also get them used to the changes that are likely going to take place.

The goal is that your toddler will generalize what she has learned through pretend play when their newborn sibling arrives!

Make All the Big Changes Ahead of Time

One of the hardest things for toddlers is big change and a lot of it. So, when learning how to prepare your toddler for a newborn, it’s important to take this into consideration. So much is going to change even before their sibling arrives. For example, you’ll have to create a nursery, bring in and build furniture for the newborn, start purchasing newborn supplies, etc. Whereas these things are not for your toddler, they do impact his or her life simply because the newborn is part of their life as well!

The best way to avoid any overstimulation from your toddler is to start making these changes early (and slowly if you can). Include your toddler in the process where appropriate as well. When you’re painting the nursery, let them in on the fun! If you’re heading to the store to pick up newborn supplies or some special toys, let them come and even pick some out. This makes the process more fun and it becomes something they get to help with, not something that’s happening to them.

Increase Your Toddlers Level of Independence

One of the best pieces of advice for how to prepare your toddler for a newborn actually has nothing to do with the newborn. Instead, it’s to increase your toddlers level of independence. Reason being you want your toddler to learn that they can do things on their own; that they don’t need you for everything. This takes pressure off of you and them. When they feel like a “grown up”, they’re more likely to behave with higher independence and take on a more supportive role naturally. If your toddler is still functioning at a level they are capable of moving past, they’re more likely to remain in that level when the newborn arrives because they’ll learn that it’s how they get your attention. Teach them to be more independent and they’ll want to help!

Pending your toddlers age and developmental stage, consider the following ways to increase their independence:

  • Teach them to use kitchen utensils by themselves for appropriate meals. You can even teach them to use a child-proof knife if you’re up for it
  • Allow them to pour their own drinks and even use open top cups, by themselves. If you want them to maintain using sippy cups that’s perfect fine, but then let them unscrew the cap and screw it back on.
  • Create a routine with them and let them help you plan it. This routine should involve brushing their teeth, their hair, getting dressed on their own, putting their toys away, etc.
how to prepare your toddler for a newborn lessons with two girl siblings and a newborn smiling

How to Prepare Your Toddler for a Newborn

When it comes to how to prepare your toddler for a newborn, there really isn’t a right or wrong method! There’s only trial, error, and learn! Toddlers more often than not welcome a new baby. They may have an adjustment period, but that’s expected. Follow these tips and ask for advice, and I’m sure your toddler will be just as in love with your newborn as you are!

Looking for some more resources? Check these out!

Before You Go!

I am so excited for your new little one to join your family! Make sure you schedule your newborn photography session with me asap so I can capture your new ones first few days in your family! Take a look at my maternity sessions while you’re there as well!

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