Many three-year-olds have to cope with the arrival of a younger sibling at this age and whilst some toddlers welcome the new arrival with open arms; others are understandably wary of the new, noisy little bundle.
Put yourself in her position
Imagine your partner came in one day and announced he was bringing a third party into your relationship and you’d be expected to help care for her. You’d feel pretty put out! That’s how your toddler feels – that she has been pushed aside by the new baby – and she’s bound to be jealous about it. She’s used to being the centre of attention, too, and may feel overshadowed by your newborn, especially when family and friends start arriving to admire the newcomer, bringing gifts for him.
The key to avoiding sibling rivalry is to build the sibling bond. You can do this by involving her as much as you can with your new baby, and also to find ways to care for your newborn that don’t exclude your toddler from the attention she needs as well as special one-on-one time with you. Here’s how to do it…
Tell her that the baby can hear her voice and have her sing nursery rhymes to the bump – it’ll be even more fun if she sings them down a cardboard tube or special megaphone you’ve made from a piece of construction paper. Take her with you to antenatal appointments so she can hear the baby’s heartbeat and if you can allow her to accompany you to a scan so she can see the baby on screen. All of these tactics will ensure the baby is less of a surprise to her.
It’s a great idea to produce a wrapped gift to your toddler from your baby as your toddler is likely to feel jealous of the fact the baby is being showered with gifts from family and friends. Ask relatives and friends to also bring a small gift for your toddler or alternately, stock up on inexpensive toys and trinkets from your local pound shop so she has something to open whenever your newborn receives a gift. Look at our article on helping your toddler adjust to the arrival of a new sibling.
Introducing new foods to your three-year-old
Research has shown it takes eight to 10 attempts to get a young child to eat a new food. While it may be tiresome to have it left on the plate, it’s vital that you keep offering your child a variety of foods instead of giving up at the second or third attempt and giving her that jam sandwich simply because you know she’ll eat it without whining. A good tip once she does start to accept something new is to add more foods that are the same colour, for example, or have a similar flavour or texture.