How do you tell a toddler about a new baby? There isn’t a great track record of older siblings welcoming new babies into my family. When I was born, my big brother went into such a state of denial that he used to paint pictures that consisted of solid lines of black paint. To be fair, I think this only lasted a few weeks, as he quickly realised the playing / fighting potential of a younger sister.
Eliza’s only two, but I think toddlers understand an awful lot more than you’d think. So as it was a topic we’d all be talking about a lot, we wanted the new baby to be something that she was always aware of, and not a big “Surprise! Look what this is in your old cot” nine months later.
Here’s some ideas that we used to tell a toddler about a new baby:
1) We thought we’d be honest all along. Pretty early on we just told her there was a baby growing in Mummy’s tummy – sorry, anatomy purists – and she seemed quite interested in this idea. Great, we thought. Until two minutes later she started prodding at her own and saying ‘look Mummy, there’s a baby in MY tummy!’
2) Books are a brilliant idea. So we turned to our trusty Miffy box set. Handily, there is a Miffy book about this. There’s a Miffy book about everything, from the cradle to – literally – the grave. We don’t talk about Dear Grandma Bunny though, I’m still in shock. Miffy was a good idea in theory, until Eliza wised up that it wasn’t as fun as the zoo and school books.
3) We made sure she was involved. Every morning when she came into our bed, she kissed my stomach and said “Hi, baby.” Something that we incredibly cute that we encouraged!
4) We made nursery aware, and they helped: Early on they said she never stopped talking about it so they talked about it with her, as well as reading all the relevant books with her..
So how did you tell a toddler about a new baby? How did you make sure your precious first born is aware that they’re no longer going to be the absolute centre of your universe? What are some good adjustment ideas? Tell this second child your tips please – apart from keeping her away from the black paint…