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March 18, 2011

How to cope with a toddler and a new baby

It will be hard at times, but it won't be impossible. Here are our top tips on how to cope.

• Prepare as much as possible beforehand. Cook and freeze meals while you're still pregnant so you've a good supply of nutritious food to see you all through the early days after the birth.

• Don't be too proud to accept offers of help -- and don't be afraid to suggest really useful things friends could do.

• Lower your expectations of how the house will look during the first few weeks. You've got a lot on your plate, and it doesn't really matter if the dusting doesn't get done or you have to wear un-ironed clothes for a few days.

•As soon as you can, try to get out for at least a short walk every day -- it's amazing what a boost it is to get out of doors.

• Make your toddler aware from the very start that the baby is interested in her, is watching her and loves her. Say things like, "She's following your game with her eyes" and "She's very interested in what you're doing".

• Involve her in games with the baby from the earliest days, and always tell your toddler how much you value her help and assistance with helping at bathtime and so on.

When jealousy arises, just be firm. You may need to reiterate that the baby is a part of the family and is staying. A lot of toddlers will ask their parents to send the baby back. But like everything in life, it takes time to get use to the change. Keep a watchful eye on your baby and toddler. Some toddlers will react with anger - slapping or hitting the new baby. Don't overreact - but firmly explain that he is hurting the baby and that behavior is not acceptable. To the toddler the world once revolved around them - now they have to share their world with this tiny creature that takes mommy's attention away. Try to understand from the toddler's point of view that they are simply defending their position and be patient with them.
 
When you bring your new baby home - remember that the toddler, no matter how sweet and gentle they are, is too young to baby-sit. Keep an eye on both of them, and very soon the baby will be big enough to actually play with the big brother or sister.

Do whatever it takes to make you child feel that you need his help and he is not forgotten. It is okay to let your child assist in feeding ay with your supervision. That way they to can form a bond with their sibling.

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