Introducing your toddler to a new baby, especially if the baby is your second child, can be stressful. The truth is there is no way to know how your toddler will react to meeting his new baby sibling. All you can do is prepare him for the changes that are about to happen in his life, and make the arrival of his new brother or sister as exciting and enjoyable as possible.
Tell your toddler what is about to happen in a manner she can understand. In general, children under three years old have a difficult time understanding events that are far in the future, so waiting to tell your child about the new baby until you begin to show is often best.
Explain the new baby, and his or her needs, to your toddler by telling him about his babyhood. Show him pictures of when he was little, and use these to explain how things will change when the new baby comes.
Include your toddler in your pregnancy. Allowing your child to see the new baby in an ultrasound or hear his or her heartbeat will help her to see the baby as a person rather than just a bump in mommy's belly.
Spend time with your toddler one on one before introducing the new baby if your toddler stayed with a family member while the baby was in the hospital. This will allow you to reconnect, and show your toddler that he is still important.
Use the baby's name when talking about her to your toddler to help your toddler understand that the baby is a person, just like all of the other people in her life.
Let your toddler touch and hold the baby. While letting a rambunctious toddler hold a newborn may be stressful, your toddler can learn how to be gentle with some guidance.
Include your toddler in caring for the baby. When the baby is eating, spend that time with your toddler talking to her or reading books. Your toddler will also likely be able to help care for the baby in small ways, like bringing you a towel after the baby takes a bath or helping to pick out clothing for her new sibling to wear that day.
Teach your toddler how to play with his new sibling. Learning that funny faces results in a giggling baby will help to make your toddler feel important and aid in bonding between the new siblings.
Listen to your toddler, even if her feelings seem negative. It is completely normal for a toddler to feel jealousy towards her new sibling, especially since babies tend to take up a lot of mom and dad's time. Giving your child your undivided attention for short periods and talking to him about any feelings he has will help to lessen them, simply by showing him that how he feels is important to you.