Bringing a new baby home to an older sibling or two may feel a bit overwhelming. With all the changes that are occurring, you may wonder how to make sure your older one gets the attention they need. Keeping the same routines or creating activities for big brother or sister can keep them entertained while you tend to your newest little. Below are some helpful ideas of keeping everyone happy during this exciting yet challenging chapter.
Seek out support! Having grandparents, other family members, or a good friend close can be helpful in keeping your toddler busy and help them feel paid attention to. A postpartum doula can also help by taking care of light household chores and keeping an eye on the baby to give you the chance to spend time with your big boy or girl. Even a few hours a week of one on one special big sibling time can make a difference.
Establish a routine! If your biggest has a routine of going to daycare or school, keeping this up gives them the advantage of being out of the house with others, and may help them adjust better because it’s something that has stayed the same. You also get the benefit of one-on-one time with your baby and maybe time to take a nap!
Seek out activity! If you have space to play outside, a sand or water table can provide hours of fun! Even blowing bubbles for them to chase or letting them run through the sprinkler can help work off their extra energy as the weather warms up.
Seek out space! Creating a play space in your home that is kid proof and kid friendly can help ease your mind about what your toddler is getting into. Filling that space with special toys or books that are only used when in that space, can keep it fresh and exciting for them. Some toys like playdough, building blocks, coloring pages, or playing music for a dance party can be used to play by themselves or with you watching and participating.
Seek out avenues of self reliancy! An important feature of any activity or space you create for your toddler is the availability of snacks. Storing them in a self-serve place makes it easy for your toddler to retrieve the snack for themselves, and also prevents you from needing to jump to the rescue if you are settled in feeding your newborn.
Get them involved! Engaging your toddler to help with the care of your newborn can be a great way to foster sibling bonding and helps them feel like a big brother or sister. Running for diapers or wipes, bringing mommy an easy-to-reach snack, or picking out the outfit baby will wear next are simple ways to encourage this.
Do what you’ve got to do! We all have tough days when we do what we can to make it through. If that means that a marathon of your child’s favorite TV show happens, great! You used what worked for both of you and made it through that day. No mommy guilt needed!
Embrace the moment! Sometimes on those tough days, finding activities that your toddler normally wouldn’t do can help ease the tension and calm their energy. Splashing in sink, playing with magnets on a cookie sheet, or drawing in a shallow pan of rice are simple ways of play that your toddler will love. For some simple ideas, Pinterest has some great ones for fidget boards or busy bags that can keep your toddler well occupied. And it’s easy cleanup too!
Ultimately, it is important to remember that change is a challenge for everyone, and you are doing an awesome job taking care of your little ones with the resources available to you. Seeking out support and ways for your oldest to keep busy as well as feel special and helpful during this time can ease the growing pains.
Congratulations on your growing family!