The Dynamics between Babies and Small Children

 In Child behaviour, Child Care, Parents, You & your family
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Toddler girl caressing a sleeping baby's head

You have a child – and now you’re expecting another! This journey will be very important for both you and your child, and your child may go through a variety of emotions so understanding the various aspects will help you provide a positive experience for yourselves. Here are some steps to consider taking to make the journey smooth and exciting for the both of you.

Before the Birth

Telling Your Child about Pregnancy

Some parents tell the child as soon as they find out while some prefer to wait until the bump becomes noticeable. Ultimately, this all depends on what you would prefer and your child’s personality. If you think that waiting would be better, there is nothing wrong with taking your time. However, try not to wait too long because your child may need time to adjust to the idea of someone new entering their family.

If you do tell them and you feel like they don’t comprehend it, don’t worry. Show them lots of books with diagrams of pregnant women or photos of themselves as babies and gently explain how exciting the process is.

Include Them in the Process

Include your child as much as possible in the preparations. Taking them to ultra-sounds will allow your child to understand the changes their unborn sibling is going through. This experience will increase positive anticipation and a protective nature for the new family member joining in.

After the Birth

Introducing Your Child to Your Newborn

It is common to expect your toddler to instantly fall in love with their sibling. In some cases, this may not happen and they may become angry, confused or jealous. Suddenly, they have to share their space with someone new and their family members may not have as much time and energy to play with them. This is to be expected and can be difficult to avoid.

Instead, spend time separately with your toddler so they don’t feel ignored. Do activities with them that are exclusive and unique to the two of you. Perhaps, read special books together, do yoga together or take trips to the park. Encourage them to spend time with your newborn, too. Giving the older sibling a doll to look after will allow them to care and be protective of the newborn. Soon, the bond will forge.

Keep an Eye Out for Changed Behaviours

Often, after the birth of a new child, the older child can undergo regression. They may feel if they do this, they will receive more attention – a natural reaction to such a significant change in their life. Let them experience this for a while but remind them that being older is better because they can have a lot more choice in movies for the older age group.

Make Your Older Child Feel Important and Included

You can include them in dressing your newborn or preparing your newborn for a trip to the grocery store. Feeling wanted and helpful will be incredibly beneficial for your child. They will be less likely to act out if they feel like they have a significant place in the family.

Most importantly, throughout the entire process…

Always Be Kind

This is a huge change for everyone in the family. Be sympathetic throughout the process. Remind yourself that how your child feels is valid and normal, and that you probably felt the same way if you have younger siblings. Encourage your child, show them love and everything will work out in the end.

Helping your child through this transition will teach them a variety of wonderful, life-enhancing skills. Here, at Mindarie Keys Early Learning School, our childcare educators are always happy to help. To learn more about our programs for babies, toddlers and kindy-aged children, feel free to contact us online or call us on 08 6162 9119.

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Boy trying to match wooden blocks to their shaped slotsDad high-fiving daughter as she grows