And then there were two…
I am not too sure which of the following scenario is the more daunting prospect, bringing home your first baby or bringing home the second to the enthusiastic loving arms of the first! The thought of two little people, one full of unbridled energy just as you are probably feeling exhausted may at times seem overwhelming. Emotions may also fray when the two year old is literally loving the new bubba to death. It might appear that your toddler has grown from being a baby overnight to a giant in the space of 24hrs.Here are some thoughts to help you through the first few weeks:
- Remember, this is good bonding time for Dads and Toddlers.
- Have a special backpack/basket filled with Big Kids activities that you only bring down during feed times. Activities might include glad seal bags filled with special activities such as: a glue stick, paper and pictures for sticking cut out of a magazine, bubbles, small container of play dough, dried penne pasta and string for making a necklace, washable toddler safe crayons and A5 blank pad, Pictures of family printed onto paper for toddler to cut and paste, squishy gel balls or spider balls, stickers
- Assist your toddler in positive touching time with the baby, helping them to cuddle the baby, encouraging them to stroke the babies hands and feet, rocking the pram etc
- Reinforce the baby’s interest in the toddler “Look, Bubba thinks your really funny when you jump up and down, see how she is watching you.”
- Regression is a pretty standard response to new addition. Don’t be stressed by it- I have always found a sense of humour is always helpful in this situation accompanied by the ignore, distract and divert tactic.“ Oh, You look funny with that little jump suit on . I don’t think it fits you. Do you think it might fit the daddy? Do you think it might fit the dog? Do you think it might fit the bubba?”
- Feed back to your toddler about the behavior that is okay. “Hey, I liked the way you put you bowl into the sink, that was great help” “Look! The bubba really likes it when you stroke her feet.”
- Slings and baby carriers are not only great for settling cranky babies but are a great way of keeping babies out of cranky toddlers reach.
- Make a morning walk with the little ones, part of your routine even if it is only 15 mins
- Check out the local library for free toddler story times, pick up some picture books about new babies arriving whilst you are there
- Schedule outdoor play time each day, – Read a book under a tree, bring inside toys outside on a rug for some thing different (ie duplo out side) Place an outdoor chair or bean bag next to the sand pit to sit, relax and feed bubba, whilst chatting to toddler, head to the local park- great place to meet other mums.
- Beat the Bed Time battle-Put the little ones into pram and or slings and go for a walk for an hour- Great way side step bed time tantrums, have some chatting time with your partner and get some exercise for you and the dog
- If leaving the room, even for a short period of time, it is a good idea, to bring the toddler along to “help you” in the other area. Little people’s brain and bodies are still growing and developing and they lack control over their movements. What might begin as a good natured attempt to share a toy with the newborn can turn into a hit in the head and tears all around. Toddlers also have great ideas as to what new babies like to do that may not always tally your concept of fun!
- There are lots of loving arms at Kindergym to keep an eye on your newborn snoozing in the pram, or give them a cuddle while you engage, be present and connect with your toddler during your Kindergym class. Make this a special time for the two of you!
And when all else fails, try to remember that this time is fleeting and will probably pass within 12 weeks.
A baby for Grace
Author: Ian Whybrow ; illustrated by Christian Birmingham.
Published by Kingfisher
Poor Grace is trying so hard to be helpful, in getting ready for the new baby, but alas all her best efforts seem to fail and everyone seems to have forgotten Grace. This delightful story, explores the feelings and emotions of a toddler finding her place alongside the new arrival. The scenarios are great conversation starters for reflecting on feelings with your own child. The popular “Harry and his bucket full of Dinosaurs” is by the same author, and the text is accompanied by rich pastel drawings full of life, movement and emotion.