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Coming Home With A New Baby; What To Expect From Your Toddler
What to expect from your child after your baby arrives, and how to cope
So it’s the day you've been waiting for. Your out of the hospital and finally home with your new bundle of joy, how exciting. You waited nine months in anticipation for this day, got the nursery set up, and all the cute baby clothing waiting at home ready to be modeled by your new darling. This isn’t your first child, so now you have an excited toddler at home that cant wait to play with their new baby brother or sister. Children are precious beings and require a lot of nurturing and attention, and now that you have a new baby they will require your attention more now than ever before. Children will go through various stages when there is a new presence in the household, especially when that new presence will be taking up more of your attention than your first child anticipated. You will notice a series of changes, both good and bad, but don’t panic because in life there is a solution for any obstacle that is thrown your way.
When you are ready to bring home the new life that you and your mate have created, your household is even more brighter and full of activity than ever before. While you were pregnant everyone was excited, and was ready to welcome the new baby, including your first child, but now that the baby is here don’t be surprise if things didn’t come together quite how you expected. When you had that little bun in the oven your little one was very excited in the notion of being a big brother or big sister, but now that the baby is here be prepared to expect a new tune being played. Once in the presence of the new bundle it is not uncommon to find that your toddler is a little drawn-away from you. Now that their sibling is here, your child will need some time to grasp the concept that there will be a new roommate in the home that will be sharing the same roof as them for a long time, so just let them understand that earlier on.
You will find that your child will not understand that this new life is just that, a new life. Your toddler will look at the baby as a play thing and in some cases refer to them as their “toy” or “doll”, this is just to let you know that they are still very young, and do not comprehend the notion of a new life, to them they just see a pint size moving doll. During this time, it is absolutely crucial that you explain to them that the baby is a living, breathing human being such as themselves, and they should be extremely careful not to invoke harm or put the baby in any dangerous situations. Do keep a very close eye on your toddler at all times. Don't leave your child alone with the new baby, not even for a second. Remember that your toddler is filled with curiosity and they will try to pick up the baby or even attempt to play rough games with them. Do not take any chances when it comes to your new bundle of joy because they will depend on you for round the clock protection from their older sibling. Consider yourself their round the clock body guard.
Use this time to observe all of your toddlers behaviors, because it will definitely change. Your toddler is very smart, and will pick up on very subtle signs of change. Your toddler will notice all the attention being diverted from them, and place on the new member of the family. Your child will start to do various things to act out. For starters, don’t be surprised if your child have sudden mood changes. You will find that your little boy or girl will get moodier, and throw more tantrums than usual. He or she may try to hit the baby when your not around, or even in your presence as a bold gesture of defiance. Your toddler will do all these things to test you, and see how far they can push you, but don’t panic and breakdown because this is all a cry out for attention. You have to understand that this is a new experience for them as well, and their lives have literally changed overnight, due to this new invader as they may see it. No matter how stressful things may get, have no fear because there is always a solution.
While all may seem hopeless, do take comfort in knowing that you are not alone, and mothers everywhere go through the same terror. There are various things that can be done to ease your little ones in this new transition in their lives, and keep in mind that this is a very big transition for them as well. The shock of having this new person taking up all of mommy's attention can be a bit overwhelming for your little guy or gal, so here are some things you could do:
- Try to incorporate the time you spend with the baby into your little ones life. Give your toddler a cute title such as “mommy's little helper”, “big brother/sister in command", or whatever you feel will spark your child's attention. These titles will gradually let your children learn that they are entering a new phase in their lives, the big sibling phase. Be sure to designate tasks to your child in helping mommy with the baby, such as helping during feeding time, and probably powdering or drying the baby during bath time (nothing too complex). Your child will be happy to be given these helpful jobs and they will feel important as well.
- Be sure to take time out for you and your child. Whenever possible, do make alone time for you and your first born without the baby present. When a sitter is available, or if daddy can find the time, go out on a date with your little one, just the two of you. Use this time to catch up on their feelings and emotions. Let them know that they are not being replaced but have been elevated to a next status in the family, which requires you to rely on them for help a whole lot more. Children love feeling appreciated, and they love the fact that you will make time out for them to engage in fun outside activities that they will enjoy. Take them out to the park, movies, circus, or anywhere the two of you may like, this is their day.
- If your not able to take them out, have no worries, buy your child some arts and crafts. Taking part in some type of artistic activities together is a great way to let your little sidekick unleash their hidden emotions, as well as being a creative outlet for them. You both will have fun and appreciate each other even more. Your child will love being the focus of your attention, and will give you some slack when its time to get back to the baby.
- Use this time to read to your little one, and explore educational activities. Reading is always a great outlet for your child's imagination, and will help them focus on something other than the baby. Find what your kid likes and participate with them. There are some great educational apps for tablets as well as games that will keep your child occupied in a positive way. Sky's the limit on the different ways you can stimulate their minds.
Although this may be a very trying and overwhelming time for you all, keep in mind that its a blessing as well. You have a new healthy baby so there will be many adventures to come. While the beginning will prove to be a test on your patience, keep in mind that you are all a team, a team cannot work without all its players. Be sure not to leave your first born out on the bench alone. Children act on emotions and are very sensitive so they pick up on the tiniest of details. If your child acts out, it is simply their way of saying "mommy look at me". While a bit overwhelming, since the baby is very vulnerable and needs you for everything, don't forget that your toddler needs you too. At the same time it is important that you let your child know that there is another addition in the family who requires a little bit more TLC (tender loving care) as well. This is not to say that they are any less important, but more that they are needed more so now than ever before. Your little helper just needs some time to adjust, and over time they will get it.