When you have your second child, you may need to get ready to “upgrade” your parenting skills one step further. Before you plan to have a second child, you may need to ask yourself or see for yourself what will be the worse conditions you need to face while taking care of a toddler and a baby at the same time. Get ready for the worst. Get help if you need to.
Imagine that you will have to rock your baby to sleep and at the same time, try to comfort a crying and clingy toddler? Both children are throwing tantrums and need your immediate attention when you are busy cooking dinner for the family? I think you are going to face a mental breakdown if you can’t cope with it well. That’s why a simple way to handle it, is to have a good strategy and plan beforehand.
In this article, we will be sharing about things you must know when you have your second child, and how to help your toddler adjust his life with a new sibling.
When you have your second child
Having to know that you are again pregnant with your second child can be exciting and worrisome at the same time. It also means that your firstborn will become an elder sister or brother to your newborn. It will be a big change in your family life as well as to your firstborn too. Helping your toddler to adjust his life with the new sibling can be a challenging one.
It is not uncommon for the firstborn to feel jealous of a new sibling because he may feel a dynamic change in both his parents where he has no longer getting their full attention and affection anymore. It takes some time, patience, and good planning to help your firstborn during this transition from the only child to the oldest child who is now having a little sister or brother.
Just be reminded that you are not alone! Many parents out there are having more than one kid. In Malaysia alone, 4 is the average family size in most families – 2 parents with 2 children.
Right time for a second child
Here are the factors to consider if you plan to have a second one.
- You can afford to have second child
- You are still young ( within reproductive period) and physically healthy
- Your first born has reached the age to start his early childhood education at nursery center
- You have parents / parents in law or maid to help taking care of your children if you are not free
- A supportive husband who can assist you in household chores
- If you love parenting, enjoy living in a big household with lots of joys and excitement, and is afraid of loneliness
Besides any of it, just follow your instinct, if you are ready to have your second child, go for it.
Things you may expect if you have a second child
Every child is not born with the same characters, not even twins! If you expect your second born will be the same as your firstborn, an easy-going baby seldom throws tantrums, then you are wrong! Here are the 5 things you should anticipate if you have two children in a family. It may not be true for you because every child is unique!
1.Firstborn may feel jealous with the new sibling.
There is a dynamic change in the family, a newborn arrival which needs more his parent’s attention and time. Unlike being an only child, he is always the center of attention. After his brother or sister is born, he may feel “less” important. Acting rough with the baby, easy to get angry, and crying for no reason is a common sign of jealousy. That’s why it is not uncommon to have your firstborn feel jealous about his new sibling. You need to be patient and help him adjust and accept his new sibling.
2.Sudden change in your firstborn behavior.
You may be surprised to find out that your firstborn will regress to previous old habits which you thought were long gone. For example, if he has already potty trained and suddenly he asks mama for a nappy just like his young sibling. If he sees his brother or sister latching on your breast, he will ask to latch another side even he has weaned off months ago. Watch out for the signs that sometimes, he yearns to get his mom and dad’s attention and affection.
Spend one-to-one time together, have your toddler cuddle while breastfeeding your newborn, or play with your toddler while carrying your newborn in a sling carrier are ways to do it. Remember your toddler will grow up eventually to understand the baby need more attention from mommy and he will act like a little big brother or sister to help mommy take care of the baby.
3.Be ready for simultaneous meltdown.
If you have two young children at home, be ready for a situation where your newborn and your cranky toddler need your immediate attention simultaneously. You have to be mentally prepared as it can be draining if both are screaming and wailing at the same time. Being a mother of two young children, you will learn through experience and will find a way to attend to each emotional need. Be strong enough to keep cool and do whatever is urgent, easy to fix, and the best way to go.
4.Firstborn may show separation anxiety.
It is normal to have your firstborn become clingy to his mommy after the second child is born. This is a way to show his anxiety that he doesn’t want his mommy to be “shared” with other people. Mommy is “MINE”! Toddlers usually have a very strong sense of belonging, dislike sharing their toys or their favorite food with others ( but it can be trained). Keep reassuring him that mommy is always HIS but the new baby will need more attention and time but it is not going to change how much he is loved and cherished.
5.Kids compete to gain attention.
You will notice one of the kids will compete with his other sibling and win his parent’s heart to get more attention. Some kids will show misbehavior and make you angry. All this effort is done is just to shift your attention to him. Parents also need to learn how he feels so that he will not purposely do “wrong” things just to impress and attract our attention.
Helping your toddler to adjust to new sibling
Get your child to prepare before the newborn arrives.
Kids always want to follow a routine and dislike big changes. A newborn arrival will be a big change in the family life. Your only child will become a big sibling to your newborn and it is also a big change that needs some adjustment. Reassuring him that the new baby will need more attention but he will still get mommy undivided love and affection.
Tell him that baby will cry a lot and wake up at night for feeding just like him when he was a baby. You may explain that the baby will grow up a little bit and eventually he will be able to play with him and it is going to be awesome!
Involve in baby care activities.
You will notice that toddler is enjoy helping mommy with housework including baby-related activities such as taking a nappy, fetching a baby bottle, or a pacifier. Let him be involved in all the activities related to baby care such as changing the nappy, bathing the little one, dressing up, feeding, etc, and explain why a baby needs more attention because a baby can’t do it himself. No doubt he will understand and feel proud of his new responsibilities to help mommy take care of the young brother or sister.
Make time to one to one attention.
I know sometimes you feel worn out attending to the baby but maintaining a one-to-one time with your firstborn is important too. Have your toddler cuddle while breastfeeding, and spend 10-15 minutes talking and cuddling will do wonders for his mood. You can still spend time playing with your toddler by investing in a sling carrier for the baby. It is useful and able to let you play with your firstborn without distraction.