One of my concerns when I was pregnant with our second child, was that when she was born my little girl would be okay with all the changes that were about to occur. Being the first born has the perks of having a lot of attention and not having to share. So I was really hoping that she didn’t see the new baby as competition, feel left out, or for her to be jealous of the new baby.
Here, you have this new precious little one in your arms and enjoying it. But…your toddler is right there trying to get up on your lap with you and your new baby while you’re feeding them, or your toddler is talking to you loudly when you’re getting your baby to sleep. Does this sound familiar?
A new baby requires a lot of care and attention. This time spent with your baby can make your toddler feel like they’re second best if you’re not careful. Here are some ways to make your child still feel included.
Spend quality time while your baby is napping.
This is probably the easiest time that you can spend with your toddler. Most newborns can nap for hours, so that gives you and your toddler lots of time together. Some things that you can do while your baby is napping are:
Draw or paint together
Play pretend—pretend dress, pretend grocery shopping)
Sing nursery rhymes together
Ask your toddler what they would like to do.
Have an indoor picnic
Build a fort
Go on “dates” with your toddler
Have your spouse, family member or friend watch the baby while you take your toddler out for “dates” for just the two of you. Your toddler will be so excited to have this special mommy/daughter or mommy/son date. You can go to the park, get some ice cream, go to the library, or just take a walk. It’s a great way to connect with your child without any distractions.
Wear your baby
When you have an active toddler to take of, you definitely can’t sit down all day with your baby. And it’s pretty hard to meet the needs of your toddler when you have a baby in your arms. So the perfect solution is to wear your baby. Babywearing will allow you to meet the needs of your baby, and still do things with your toddler.
Include your toddler in your baby’s needs
Even while your tending to your baby, include your toddler to help them feel connected to their new sibling and help them understand that they are still loved. Try to spend time with the when they want your attention. It may be difficult to include them, but try to find some way in which they can help you or your baby You can let your toddler get you a diaper while your changing your baby’s diaper and throwing the dirty diaper in the diaper pail when you’re finished. Wash your hand together too—little things add up. Any time that you see an opportunity to spend with each other, take it.
Do chores together
Toddlers love being mommy’s little helper and doing chores helps them learn about responsibility and makes them feel like they’re a valuable part of the family. If you’re having a very busy day and need to get a lot of cleaning done, then let your toddler help you. Work helps build character and is a great accomplishments for little ones. Working together happily can create a special bond with your child and is still a way to spend time together while getting some chores done at the same time.
Keep their routine
This is a little hard since it seems that sometimes your baby is the one to decide on the routine. However, keeping your toddler’s routine will help your toddler know that you haven’t forgotten about them and that they are just as important. For example, if you usually do bath time with your child or have a bedtime routine, make an effort to continue that as much as possible. Their routines are all they know and a new baby is already a huge transition for them. Minimize as many disruptions to their routine as possible will be helpful in their ability to trust that you will still be there like you were before. This may not always be possible because you may have to take care of your baby’s needs and your spouse will have to take over for you and that’s ok. Just continue with those regular routines like you did before the baby as much as you can.
Skip the housework
Okay, this one is a big one for me as I can be a bit of a clean freak. Of course, you don’t have to do this on a regular basis. However, every once a while skip a day and spend that time with your toddler instead.
One thing that I before I go to bed is do a quick clean up—pick up toys, remove dishes from the dishwasher, anything that needs to get done before the next day. This way, the next day, I can start off the day with my toddler. There will always be time for chores.
Remember, you only get those precious moments with your children for a short amount of time. Before you know it, they will have grown up, so make the best of it!
Do you have a toddler and a newborn? How do you make time for your toddler?
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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