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Toddler kissing newborn sibling

How to Prepare Toddler for The Arrival of a New Baby

Are you expecting a new bundle of joy? Congratulations! Welcoming a new baby into the family is an exciting time, but it can also bring some anxiety, especially if you have a young child eagerly (or not so eagerly) awaiting their new sibling’s arrival. From getting them involved to talking about their feelings, we’ve gathered some practical tips to help you prepare your little one for their new role as big brother or big sister.

Share the Excitement

When you find out you’re expecting, experts recommend getting your child in on the excitement as soon as possible, using age appropriate and developmentally suitable language.1 Share the news with them and explain what it means to have a new baby in the family. Talk about the joy, love, and fun that awaits everyone. Encourage your child to ask questions and express their feelings. This will help them feel included and build a positive foundation for their journey together.

Read Stories and Watch Videos

One fantastic way to prepare your child for the arrival of their new sibling is through books and videos. Explore age-appropriate children’s books that revolve around the theme of welcoming a new baby. Reading these stories together will allow your child to better understand the upcoming changes and ignite their curiosity. There are also numerous kid-friendly videos available that showcase real-life experiences of siblings, helping your child visualize what to expect.

Involve Them in Preparations

Include your child in the preparations for the new baby. Take them along when shopping for baby essentials like clothes, toys, and diapers. Let them help with setting up the nursery or picking out colors for the baby’s room. Assign them small tasks, like folding baby clothes or arranging toys, to make them feel like an important part of the process. Getting them involved in this way helps foster a sense of responsibility and ownership.

Talk About Their Role

Explain the role your child will play as a big brother or sister. Emphasize how special and vital their role will be in helping to care for the new baby. Discuss the ways they can assist, such as fetching diapers, singing lullabies, or gently holding the baby’s hand. Reassure them that they will always have a unique place in your heart and that the arrival of a new sibling will only multiply the love within the family.

Address Concerns and Feelings

It’s natural for your child to feel a mix of big emotions about the baby’s impending arrival. Many children worry – both before and after the baby arrives – about whether they will still be important and loved. Reassure them that your love for them won’t change and that there’s room for every member of the family. Encourage them to express their concerns, fears, and even jealousy if they arise.2 Listen attentively and validate their emotions, assuring them that it’s okay to feel that way. Acknowledge their importance as an older sibling and discuss how their role will grow with time, making them an incredible teacher, friend, and protector.

Role Play

Role-playing with your child can be a valuable tool in preparing them for their new role. Use baby dolls or stuffed animals to demonstrate how to interact gently with the baby, how to hold them, and how to be a caring sibling. Encourage your child to mimic these actions, praising them for their efforts. This practice will help build their confidence and develop a sense of empathy and responsibility.

Maintain Routines

Amidst the excitement and changes, it’s essential to maintain your child’s existing routines as much as possible. Stick to their regular mealtimes, playtime, and bedtime routines. This consistency provides them with a sense of stability and security during the transition. It also helps them understand that while some things are changing, many aspects of their daily life will remain the same.

Be Prepared for Regression

It’s not uncommon for kids to suddenly revert to infant-like behaviors, especially after baby is born. Acting out, having toilet accidents, wanting a bottle, and sleep regression are all completely normal.3 This is just their way of seeking your attention and making sure that you know they still need you. You can try things like offering your child developmentally appropriate tasks to help or giving them something special to comfort them at bedtime. Look for ways they are displaying age- appropriate behaviors and praise them whenever you see it.

Preparing your young child for the arrival of a new baby is an exciting and important step in fostering a harmonious and loving sibling relationship. By sharing the excitement, involving them in preparations, addressing their concerns, and maintaining routines, you’ll lay a solid foundation for their transition into the role of a big brother or sister. Remember, every child is unique, so adapt these tips to suit your child’s personality and needs. Happy parenting, and congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your new bundle of joy!


  1. American Academy of Pediatrics – Healthy Children: How to Prepare Your Older Children for a New Baby
  2. Psych Central: How to Help Your Kid Understand and Express Big Emotions
  3. Child Mind Institute: Preparing Your Child for a New Sibling
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