By Jan Murray
If you have recently had baby number two and things are getting a little tense between you and your toddler put yourself in their shoes for a moment…
You are the center of attention and all your needs have been met at the time you usually demanded them.
Cuddles when you need them, sitting on a knee to have stories anytime and food as requested, then all of a sudden your mummy goes away for a few days and life just isn’t the same. She brings back a little bundle that cries night and day and demands her instant attention.
Your mummy seems tired and she doesn’t spend time with you like she used to. She gets cranky at things that normally didn’t matter and you have to try really hard to get her to notice you and give you the attention you were used to.
This can be a difficult time for all the family but there are a few things that can be done to help this situation be less stressful. These include:
- Try to avoid making any changes in your toddler’s life either two months before or two months after a new baby arrives. This could include things like toilet training, changing into a bed, starting day care and moving house.
- Introduce your toddler to visitors as the big brother or sister not the baby as their little baby. This makes your toddler feel important.
- Use a toddler feeding bag. This is a small collection of your toddler’s popular food choices (not junk), favourite books that they can look at alone or with you, puzzles that are age appropriate, a new toy from the baby, easy to use drink bottle of water and a short dance or music DVD. Have all these items in an easy to open bag or box that your toddler brings out only at baby’s feed time, then puts it away when feed time is finished.
- Have your toddler fetch and carry things for you; it makes him feel important and a valuable member of the family team.
- Don’t push your toddler away from being with you and the baby. Instead, help him to be involved and show him the behaviour that you expect. Just telling your toddler to be gentle and not poke the baby’s eyes will not be enough. Show him how and where is acceptable to touch the baby such as stroking her head or feet.
- Read books together about families.
- Give your toddler attention when the baby is up not only when she is asleep.
- Keep your toddler’s life as routine as it was before the baby was born. If you don’t have a routine, it will be a good time for you to establish one. Routines eBook has routines for babies and toddlers.
- Give extra cuddles and make eye contact down at your toddler’s level as much as possible.
- Understand that your toddler’s world has changed and for a while he may regress for a short time with more night waking, toilet accidents (if previously toilet trained), and food refusal. Hang in there and keep your cool while encouraging acceptable behaviour, it will pass.
- This article was brought to you by Jan Murray, Private Child Health Consultant who is an internationally renowned expert in her field. Jan encourages parents in the area of infant sleep, nutrition, activities and family balance. She publishes regular ezine and blog articles to provide free parenting tips, tools and resources to educate and support those caring for young babies and children.