How and why this happens?
It’s totally natural for a toddler to be jealous when new baby arrives. If you just became mother again and you have an older child, you will understand it completely. Your toddler is used to be an only child in the family and to have exclusive relationship with you. Now, he/she must deal with some baby which came suddenly into his life. Older child doesn’t understand his own feelings and it’s hard for him/her to deal with his jealousy. He/she will probably show disobedience or even regression.
Most common behaviour of toddlers in these situations:
- Refusing to walk
- Trying to sit on his brother’s/sister’s seat
- Asking for a bottle (even if he/she hasn’t used it for a while)
- Stop using the potty
- Jumping on to the sofa when you’re breastfeeding
- Suckling his thumb again
- Pinching or poking his/her new sibling
How to handle it?
1.Prepare your toddler for a new arrival – explain to your child that you have a baby in your belly and that he/she will soon get a sibling. Tell him/her that his dad will take care of him in the beginning of baby’s life. Make sure that he/she understands that your feelings for him/her will not change when the new baby arrives. Let your toddler get involved in the preparations. Explain what will happen once you go into labour.
2.Involve your toddler in baby’s life – there are a lot of things that your child could do for his/her new sibling. He/she can help you when you are bathing or feeding the baby. For example, he can sing a song to the baby when he or she is crying. Don’t ask of your child to be a “big kid” or a „little parent“. He/she still needs to feel that he/she is a child and that he/she can rely on you. Ask your child for advice so he/she can feel like an important figure to you.
3.Spend time with your older child – although you are spending a lot of time taking care of a new baby, take some time for your toddler too. Older child is missing your love and attention and it will mean a lot to him/her. Try to keep the child’s routine the same as it were before the baby arrived.
4.Don’t compare your children – try not to tell: „Why can’t you be more like your brother“. You should, instead, point out each child’s strengths. You can say to your child what is he good at and in which activity is his/her sibling good. If you compare them in a negative manner you will only decrease his/her self-confidence.
5.Don’t put baby in the centre of everything – try not to always refer everything to baby. Instead of saying „I will help you after I finish with the baby“, say: „I will help you as soon as I can“. Don’t make your child feels neglected because of the baby.
6.Expect all kind of different emotions from your kid – you can expect aggression, grief or sadness. Try to understand his/her feelings, talk to your child and express your love and compassion.
New-born coming can be really stressful and challenging for moms. It’s important to prepare your toddler for new baby. He/she is not going to be jealous if he is feeling that he/she is involved in the baby’s life. Happymamma suggestions are to always speak with your child about his/her emotions and to spend some time just with your toddler.