It’s often not easy dealing with a newborn. Add a toddler to the scenario and the frustrations and difficulties can be multiplied exponentially.
Here are 7 tips that helped me after the birth of each of my children.
- When I was nursing, or feeding the baby, I declared it to be reading time. Those were the only times a day that I read out loud to my toddlers. Each week we would go to the library and they selected books that were only read to them when I was feeding the baby. That way snuggling with the baby was actually adding special time for them.
- I would keep a special basket of toys that I only carried out from it’s secret place while I was nursing. The only time they could play with those toys was when I was busy with the baby.
- Sometimes, when I was ready to nurse the baby, I would just ask them to climb up next to me on the sofa, and the toddler and I would have special talks. We would talk about what they were hoping to do that day, and we would tell funny stories. Often I would make up stories or tell them about their birth or funny things about me or their daddy. It became a very special time for us.
- As much as possible, I would spend the first 10 to 15 minutes of each morning with the toddler. I would spend 5 to 10 minutes at a time after that throughout the morning as often as I could just with the toddler. It seemed if I did that, the afternoons and evenings went very well.
- I learned to affirm the toddler often throughout the day. I would say things like, “You are such a good big brother.” Or, ” I am so thrilled with the way that you talk to and treat your baby sister.” By affirming them with words like that,it helped them understand what brought me pleasure, and how to treat the new baby.
- I would try to make a play date for the toddler with a relative, or even daddy, for just an hour or two a week for the first month or so, and let it be known that only the big brother or big sister could have that special time. I would explain to them that the baby was just too little to have that special time away from home.
- Throughout the day I would be very intentional to explain to them that because they were the big brother, or big sister, they could sit at the table with mommy, or they could help mommy, or they could play outside, or any other special advantage they had because they were older than the baby. I wanted to differentiate and accentuate the privileges that they had because they were bigger and older.
I would love to read your tips. What did you find helpful when you had a newborn and a toddler?