What we don’t usually spend too much contemplating, is jealousy, arguing and general sibling-rivalry. So when we’re confronted with a toddler who presents a lot of anger and contempt towards his or her new sibling, it can be sad to watch and quite difficult to cope with.
Jealousy is natural
‘Jake was so beautiful with his little sister when she first came along, it would make me cry,’ says mom, Dee. ‘So when it shifted all of a sudden and he seemed to hate her, and would pinch and hit her, I was horrified. I read a couple of good parenting books with advice on how to deal with it, such as acknowledging his feelings rather than scolding him, and it did get better. They squabble now but mainly if they’re vying for someone’s attention. Left to their own devices, they’re great pals.’
A new family member is a huge change for a toddler and their coping mechanisms can manifest as everything from aggression towards the baby, to a regression in their behavior, for instance wetting themselves on purpose. And while this isn’t easy, it is so natural that it’s important not to worry about it too much.
Ways to help the relationship between toddler and newborn
To ease your toddler into their new family structure, there are a few things you could try.
Be honest and open with your toddler from the start. There are plenty of storybooks aimed at young children about a new baby joining the family, which may help you convey the impact of this new person in a positive way.
Once baby is born, introduce the two of them as soon as possible, and have them gift one another with something special.
Try and maintain your toddler’s normal routine as much as possible, plus spend quality time with just him/her too.
Ultimately, with a toddler and a baby, you will have a few trying times ahead, so remember to take a breather. You’re only human after all, and trust us – you’re doing a great job. If you’d like some more information or advice, check out our range of articles here.