My wife and I are now the parents of two – a toddler and an infant. Our new addition arrived at the beginning of February. My brother-in-law commented that having two means playing one-on-one defense with the kids. Once you have three it is zone defense from there on out.
Since we can play one-on-one defense it is easier to help our toddler not feel like he is being forgotten with the addition of a new baby sibling. One of the things my wife and I worried about the most with having a new baby was helping our toddler make the adjustment.
How The Adjustment Is Going
When our toddler first came to meet his new sibling at the hospital he pushed the baby away and wanted nothing to do with him. Not only that, he didn’t want me or my wife to pay any attention to the baby. After that experience we wondered if our toddler would really struggle with having a new sibling.
Despite the hospital experience, our toddler has done really well. Really well doesn’t mean everything has gone perfect though. During the first week or so of having the new baby home our toddler’s tantrums seemed more frequent and a bit more intense. He also struggled with having to share my wife with the new baby. This was most apparent when she was either nursing or changing the baby’s diaper. This was expected from him and it is normal behavior for a toddler to struggle with this.
We thought our toddler may be physically aggressive with the baby, but that has not been the case. Also we thought that maybe he would engage in activities that he knows are forbidden, but that hasn’t happened yet either. There hasn’t been any developmental regression. In fact my wife and I have noticed that he has done quite well with his language development over the last couple of weeks since the baby was born.
What We Are Doing To Help Our Toddler
There are a few things we have proactively done to help our toddler adjust to sharing us (mom and dad) with his new sibling. They have been one-on-one time and being consistent.
Toddler One-On-One Time
We’ve been proactive with helping our toddler by spending one-on-one time with him. The one-on-one time has come more from me than my wife since she is giving a lot of her attention to the baby. But my wife does make a conscious effort to spend time with our toddler. I think one-on-one time shows that our love hasn’t changed even though we can’t give our attention like we did before the baby was born.
Even though a new sibling is a big change, we felt that keeping naps, bath times, and eating the same would help our toddler. I think this made a difference for him. He knows when it is time to sleep and eat and I think if we would have changed this then the adjustment would have been harder for him.
Asking For Help
I’ve tried to make an effort to ask my toddler if he wants to help with the baby. Such as when the baby is crying I’ll say, “do you want to give the baby his pacifier?” When I ask if he wants to help, he doesn’t seem to have any interest at all. I think this is fine considering his age.
One thing our toddler does that shows he does have interest in his new baby sibling is when the baby is sleeping in his bassinet our toddler often wants to look in to see his baby brother. That’s the extent of how he interacts with the baby, which I think is normal behavior.