Your toddler may act out, have extra tantrums and cling to you more than usual when you spend time with your new baby. You have to remember that you are the one the toddler wants. Your older child just thinks the new kid on the block should take a back seat. Giving your toddler some attention with hugs and kisses whenever you can helps during the transition, especially when you first come home after delivery.
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Toddlers may experience a regressive stage when they see the newborn treated as a baby, according to Dr. William Sears in an article for "Parenting." They may demand the same type of attention, and it hasn't been that long since they were babies, too. The older sibling may even revert to actions such as thumb sucking or baby talk when noticing the cuddling and soft voice tones afforded the new arrival. Provide your toddler with some affectionate babying while also pointing out the advantages of being older, including enjoying certain foods or fun activities that babies can't do. The child will realize it's not so much fun being a baby.
Frustration and impatience affect a toddler, especially when the primary care focuses on your newborn. You can set a certain amount of time to help your toddler deal with frustrations and manage them, but the child must also understand the baby's needs. Let your toddler know the baby needs special attention first and then you can join in activities or problem solving when those needs, such as diapering or nursing, have been completed. Talk out loud to the baby when you must be with your toddler. Even though the baby doesn't understand, your toddler hears it and learns each sibling needs time. This helps when you tell your toddler you need to be with the baby.
While learning to share parental attention, your toddler may still have negative feelings about the baby. Whenever you notice that happening, allow your toddler to express these natural tendencies. You can also let the older child know you understand these feelings so your toddler realizes the emotions are normal. Include the child in cuddling on your lap or talking with the baby and encourage the positive feelings your toddler expresses to feel part of bringing up baby. Your toddler will feel important when involved in tasks for the newborn.
Deal with your own frustrations by accepting your difficult situation, Turgeon points out. You can't handle two children at once all the time. Moments will occur when the baby must wait just as your toddler needs to stand by for special time. Toddlers may grow more quickly than you imagined, but they are still babies and have those special needs. Be proud of yourself for productively dividing your time between each child.