Going from Foursome To Awesome
Hunkering down to a family foursome is an exciting and special time indeed.It's a time to bond together and enjoy each and everyone of those head sniffs and newborn snuggles! I know you are going to smash it and be an awesome foursome but here are my top tips for making this transition just that little bit smoother:
Try to keep to your usual routine with your older one where you can
This isn’t always possible with the constant stream of visitors and all the excitement going on but sticking to their usual meal, nursery and bedtime times will go a long way to help keep them in the sleep saddle and give them some much needed familiarity and security during this huge transition.
Get the visitors on board
All these visitors are bound to bring an abundance of gifts; hugs and attention for the new baby which can make the older sibling feel left out. Reminding the visitors beforehand to say hello and give your oldest a hug will really help. It is amazing how simple this sounds but how easy it is to gush over a new-born, I know I have done this! Getting the older one to introduce the latest addition of the family to guests or to help with unwrapping of gifts can really help them to be part of the experience not just a by stander.
Get them involved
Sometimes it is easier to divide and conquer by splitting the child and new born but it really is so important to spend time as a family of 4. Even the youngest of older siblings can help you fetch nappies, choose an outfit for the baby or select toys. Asking your toddler their opinion or giving them some choice may help them show less resistance to things that have changed in their little worlds.
Be understanding and acknowledge your toddlers big feelings
Your toddler will be trying to work all these out for them and will need your support whilst working through these big emotions. You may not always be able to play, read a book or get down on the floor with them when they want to as you once did. Verbalise their feelings for them and validate them. For example an older child may want you to play trains but you need to feed. This may result in a meltdown. Acknowledge their feelings by saying you know they are feeling frustrated/angry/sad right now and that’s ok but baby need his feed/nappy changed but you can help or wait until I am done. Having a bag of new toys on hand can really help in this situations to divert your older one; everyone loves a lucky dip!
Don’t be too precious when older one gets too hands on
Your new born baby will now seem even more tiny and vulnerable next to your now big one but it is important to let the siblings cuddle, hold hands and touch each other. Remind yourself that babies are quite tough and remind your toddler to use gentle hands. Really try to avoid the word “don’t” to your toddler as it just makes them do it even more. If they get to full on you can say “Aww, that’s so lovely you want to love (read touch/lick/poke/stick a toy in their face!) your brother/sister” Then show them how to do so gently.
Big up what a lovely big sibling they are but easy on the pressure to be big
It is very easy to expect so much more than your toddler is capable of just because now he looks so much bigger compared to the new born. However, your toddler is still a toddler and should be treated as one by not having too much pressure to grow up. They grow up fast enough anyway!
Take all the help you can get
Take up any offer of help, practical or otherwise! If you don’t want to rest you can spend some time reconnecting with your toddler. Go easy on yourself as well; the housework and other such things can wait.
Siblings need to bond too
What better excuse do you need than to have a great big, skin on skin, hug and hunker down together!
And lastly but probably the most important thing of all…
It can be so easily forgotten, amidst the endless poopy nappies, sleepless nights and feeds, that a new-born in the family is something to celebrate! So don on the party hat, pop the champagne, roll out the bunting and get your toddler to put up the new arrival cards.