How to tell a toddler about a new baby

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.

How to tell a toddler about a new baby sibling - top tips and advice. Read this if you're pregnant with #2!

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.

Books to tell your child about a new baby

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…

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12 Comments

  1. April 11, 2014 / 9:43 am

    she’s so cute! I recently told Wilf he used to live in my tummy and now he tells people that he did but now he lives in his house with his own bed 🙂 I think books are such a great way to explain subjects that are a bit tricky. I was really annoyed when my first younger sibling came along although I was 5 and maybe had become a bit too used to be being the youngest. I still remember to this day relatives and friends coming round who used to make a beeline to talk to me completely ignoring me and heading towards the new baby and I remember being really resentful about it too. I think we’ll probably have a similar age gap with W and any potential sibling so it’s something we’ll have to think about when the time comes, I wonder if a smaller gap would have been better (for my sister and I). I’m sure Eliza will be an amazing big sister! x

  2. April 11, 2014 / 2:11 pm

    That’s so funny about the black lines!! My oldest loved babies from when he was really small and so we told him we were getting him a real baby!! He was SO excited and called her “his baby” for so long. I’ll never forget turning up at pre-school to pick him up and telling him his sister had chicken pox so I couldn’t come in and him wailing loudly, “I don’t want my baby to have chicken pox” and everyone looking at us strangely!! Good luck, I hope it goes well!

  3. April 11, 2014 / 2:21 pm

    we bought this book for Lola when I was expecting Kiki!! TBH mine have always been fine about a new sibling, we’ve never had any issues at all!

  4. April 11, 2014 / 7:04 pm

    from an outsiders point of view, it is kind of funny (funny isn’t quite the right word) to think of how strangely little ones act when another comes into the family. hopefully it’ll be an easy transition!

  5. April 12, 2014 / 10:09 am

    It’s really good to hear she is excited of the new arrival and it’s so sweet that she kisses your tummy in the morning, I am sure things will go smoothly

    Laura x

  6. April 12, 2014 / 8:13 pm

    Aww this is so sweet, I bet she’ll be an amazing big sister. F is always asking me to grow another one for him, sometimes it breaks my heart. One day soon I hope. x

  7. April 14, 2014 / 9:57 pm

    I love Miffy – I didn’t realise there were so many different books! It’s a little similar to the Mog books – there seems to be one of those for every occasion too!

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