Eeeekk! How to introduce your toddler to their newborn baby sibling
"It should all be so simple," sang Lauryn Hill on 1998's Ex Factor, "but you'd rather make it hard".
And (throwback tunes aside) the same can very much be said of toddlers and their introductions to newborn baby siblings.
Look, some two- and three-year olds take the household's latest bundle of joy with ease. They make the transition from only child to one-half-of-two without so much of a tear or a cry of "that's miiiinnneeeee".
Other small ones won't give up their parents' undivided attention quite so easily.
And thus they might need a bit of, ahem, encouragement to truly love and adore the new arrival (which they will eventually).
Here's how to ease the transition:
1) Timing is everything
It's an awful lot for a little head to get around - ANOTHER baby. Don't be tempted to start explaining the magnitude of the situation too early, though. Once you start showing, you can begin to approach the topic gently. Kicking off any earlier could prove unsettling for your preschooler.
2) Toddler recruitment
Fetching nappies and wipes, getting a clean bib or picking up a toy - big brothers and sisters love to be mummy's helper. It's empowering for the toddler in your life and will make them feel important.
3) Cherish your moments
The new baby will nap and will be fussed over by relatives and will be brought out for a walk by your partner. So use this time (exhausted as you may be!) to have some one-on-one time with your first-born. Even reading a book together or drawing a picture together will be cherish by your elder child.
4) Expect jealousy
The toddler in your life WILL act up on occasion. They might well 'regress' or become fussy. It's all pretty normal. Don't be too hard on them - or on your own parenting skills. All will settle and be well eventually.
5) Ask for help
You know those friends and relatives who say "anything I can do, just let me know..."? Well, you need to get those bodies on board. You've just doubled your offspring quota - so extra pairs of hands are greatly appreciated. Don't be shy!
6) Nobody's perfect
There will be loads of highs - and, sure, a few lows too. But for goodness sake don't beat yourself up about the hiccups along the way. You're a superstar mum with a toddler and a newborn. Go you!