Some toddlers may become jealous of a new baby brother or sister. One way to avoid jealousy is to involve the toddler in shopping for the baby. A toddler can also help to prepare the nursery area. You may choose to let the toddler pick out fabric to prepare the new baby's wrap or nursery bedding. You could also consider allowing the toddler to pick a special stuffed animal or other decorative item to be on display in the baby's room.
Teaching Involvement Through Experience
Another way to prepare and involve a toddler is to teach him or her about babies while the baby is still in the womb. Allowing the toddler to feel the baby move can be helpful in this area as can reading him or her books about babies. Taking the toddler to a daycare, a friend or a relative's house or other location where they can see a baby up close may allow the toddler to prepare for and understand what exactly a baby is. Allowing the child to attend prenatal appointments and see the baby through ultrasound/sonogram as well as hear the heartbeat can also give the toddler a sense of the baby's existence.
Help Ease Resentment
Anger or resentment is another issue toddlers can experience when there is a new baby introduced to the family. One way to help avoid this is to start any changes related to the toddler in regards to the baby before the toddler even knows about the baby coming. For instance, switching the toddler to a bigger bed in order to reserve and prepare the crib for the baby can cause resentment toward the baby in some children. A possible way to avoid this could be to make the new bed transition before making the announcement of the baby and making the bed transition more of an accomplishment of the toddler rather than an adjustment made to prepare for the new baby.
Another situation that could cause resentment is the fact that some toddlers may think the new baby will take all of the attention and love from the parents. If a toddler is used to being the center of attention, the announcement of a new baby may worry him or her and cause thoughts that he or she will be pushed aside to make room for the new baby. Explaining that families have enough love for everyone may help ease the child's mind in this situation.
There are various ways to help a toddler prepare and get used to the idea of having a new baby brother or sister in the house. Each family and situation will be unique. Therefore, catering your welcoming methods to your toddler's individual needs may be the best way of all to prepare him or her for the changes that lie ahead.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network