We read a lot about preparing for your first child. What equipment will be needed, how to baby-proof the home, how to plan etc. In some respects you might be feeling like a bit of a pro by the time your second child is due. However, there is much less written about preparing for a second child, though this also requires a lot of thinking and planning. Many mums worry about how to prepare their toddler for a new sibling. How will he or she cope with a younger brother or sister? How will you manage to get them both up and dressed each morning? What about meal times?
A Change in Focus
The last time around you were starting from scratch. You didn’t know what baby products to buy, how to prepare your home, how to decorate the nursery or what to expect. This time will be different. You have the knowledge and experience from the last couple of years. You can now change your focus and work out how to incorporate a new little person into the family unit. And if you need a bit of a refresher of preparing for a newborn this article will jog your memory.
Preparing your Toddler
There is no need to tell your toddler straight away. For a toddler, nine months might as well be nine years. Tell them nearer the time when the event will be more immediate. Involve them as much as possible. Ask for their help and involve them in sorting out the nursery or toys.
Enjoy this Time Together
Soon your threesome (or twosome) will be coming to an end. You will have a wonderful addition to the family but the dynamic will change. Make the most of this time together. Celebrate the days when it is just the two or three of you. Plan some special activities you can do as a family.
Prepare in Advance as Much as Possible
This is easier said than done. Try and prepare in advance as much as possible. If you have time, cook and freeze some meals to keep you going for the first few weeks. Accept help. This can be difficult for some people but if there are family and friends around you who are willing and able to help, let them. Listen to these mums talk about their feelings when preparing themselves for their second child.
Bringing the Baby Home
Think carefully about the birth itself and how to handle this with your toddler. When they come to visit you in hospital, remember that they will have missed you. It may be a day or more since they saw you. Make a fuss of them and tell them how much you have missed them.
Try to arrange to take the new baby home together so that you all arrive at the same time.
Include them as much as possible. Allow them to sit with you during feeding. Make sure it is clear to your toddler that there are times just for you and him / her. During these times say openly to the baby that you’re helping your toddler right now.
Above all enjoy these times together. They go so quickly. Cherish the time you have with your toddler and then celebrate the new member of the family when he or she arrives. It can be a challenging time and there will be stresses and strains. But it will also be a beautiful and joyous time. Remember to celebrate that.