Adding a baby to a family of three

Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes, answers one reader’s question about her toddler’s change in attitude since adding a baby to the family

Q.) We are four months into life as a family of four and my two year old seems to still be struggling with sharing mummy’s attention. My toddler is very loving and caring towards her baby sibling but is rude to me despite giving her dedicated 1:1 time each day.

A.) It is always a hard adjustment for a child to make when they suddenly realise that the world can no longer revolve around them because they now have a sibling.

We as parents can feel guilty that our first child no longer gets what they once had and due to this we can turn a blind eye to behaviour or tell ourselves ‘Oh it must be so hard for them.’

I believe that when a baby arrives your toddler needs very clear direction. Please remember that even without your baby the chances are your toddler would be testing you in this way because they have just turned two. This is when life starts to change for them and they push their boundaries a lot more.

My advice to you would be a few tips:

  • Guide your toddler to help with the baby by collecting the nappies, wipes, bottle etc.
  • Tell your baby in front of your toddler how lucky he is to have a wonderful big sister.
  • Tell your baby in front of your toddler – I hope you grow up to be as kind and lovely as your sister.
  • Ask your toddler to take things to the baby such as toys. When she does say ‘That is one very lucky baby!’
  • All of this language will boost your toddler’s confidence and help them to understand their new place in the family dynamic.
  • I recommend introducing the ‘shout spot’. This is a space where you send your daughter when she isn’t ready to listen to you and do as you ask. She is placed there until she ‘is ready’. This tends to be in the hallway.

Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes is brought to Baby London in conjunction with Milton. Well known as C4’s Three Day Nanny, Kathryn’s expertise covers sleep problems, eating and weaning, behavior and discipline.

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