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When You Have a Baby and a Toddler

When You Have a Baby and a Toddler

Parenting both an infant as well as an older sibling can be quite a challenge for any parent.  The fact of the matter is that, while all children require a variety of amounts and types of attention, an infant typically has more immediate and severe needs than an older sibling.  For example, if a toddler would like to have a snack, he can very often wait for a few minutes until his mother or father can help him.  This is not the case with an infant.  An infant, of course, requires immediate or near-immediate feeding when she is hungry.  In addition, if the infant is being breast fed, then only mommy can help her out at that point.

Still, it is important when you are parenting an infant and an older sibling to not allow the older sibling to feel neglected, or to feel put aside.  The fact of the matter is that, while the older sibling might be more patient, he still needs the attention that you have to offer.  One way to help assuage feelings of neglect, jealousy, or favoritism is to get the older sibling to help you out with the infant.  By bringing the older child in as more of a “helper” or even a “partner,” you are more likely to be able to avoid some of the most common causes of sibling rivalry between an infant and an older sibling.

There are some things that you need to do when you are going to be parenting an infant and an older sibling.  You need to prepare the older sibling well in advance for the changes that will take place when you have an infant.  Help him to understand that his new baby brother or sister will grow up to be one of his best friends, although it will be quite a long time before they can play together.  Help your older child to know what other changes will be taking place, such as having to share a room, or being woken up in the middle of the night when the infant is hungry.  Teach your older sibling how to be safe around the baby, and even help the older sibling practice holding the infant.

Ultimately, parenting an infant and an older sibling at the same time can be a lot of hard work, but it can also be a very exciting and fulfilling experience.

Posted in About Your Baby, Toddlers |
Switching to a Big Girl Bed

Every parent reaches the point eventually where she decides it’s time to move their toddler from the crib to a big boy (or girl) bed. There’s not really a set age to do so, but in most cases, babies are ready to try out a toddler bed somewhere between the age of 18 months and 3 years old.

In any case, if your toddler has started to try to climb out of the crib (or worse, has already managed to get over the top), it’s a good idea to go ahead and switch to a bed. If baby sleeps peacefully in the crib and doesn’t try to climb out, it’s really your call as to when you should move her over to a bed.

If your baby’s crib is still in your room, you might want to move the crib to a different room for a week or two before switching over to the toddler bed. Generally speaking, you shouldn’t change your baby’s bed and the room in which he sleeps at the same time, as too much change can be a bit overwhelming for a baby.

Of course, by the time your toddler is ready to switch to a bed, she will be speaking a few words, and will understand a lot of what you say to her. This is helpful because you can talk her through the changes. We recommend starting to talk to her about changing t a bed a week or so before you are ready to make the switch.

Many parents find that a birthday, usually the second birthday, is a good time to switch to a toddler bed. That way, the toddler bed can even be presented as part of your toddler’s birthday present.

Some babies take to the idea of sleeping in a big bed right away, but in case yours isn’t one of them, it’s a good idea not to disassemble and store the crib just yet. Some toddlers will resist the change, and if they do, there’s really no harm in letting them sleep in their crib for a few more nights. In most cases, if you present the bed as an option for “big boys” or “big girls”, they will eventually choose to sleep in the bed. After all, how many teenagers have you even seen sleeping in a crib?

Posted in Toddlers |
When Your Toddler is Hitting

Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon for children to act out, and to hit other children or adults. Hitting is a relatively common problem. When trying to figure out how to go about disciplining a child who is hitting, it is important to first understand why it is that the child is hitting.

For a toddler, hitting might just be a sign that they toddler is developing at a normal pace. Toddlers have a difficult time trying to understand, for example, how hitting will harm another person. They might not have any aggression, for example, when they are hitting. Often a toddler will hit just in an effort to try to make a point. For other toddlers, hitting might represent an experiment with cause and effect. If a toddler punches his sister, for example, he gets to hear her scream.

When you are disciplining a child who is hitting, there are some things that you might try. First of all, your child is probably not trying to actually hurt their playmate. You need to explain that his hitting hurts his playmate. You need to assume the best, that your child is probably not trying to misbehave, but rather express herself. If he is hitting because he is frustrated, learn to recognize the signs that he is getting frustrated. Help him learn problem-solving skills to deal with that frustration, and then keep an eye out for when he is getting frustrated. In addition, don’t reward the child who is hitting with attention; instead, give more attention to the child who has been hit.

If your child is hitting regularly, won’t stop, and is hurting other children, you may consider seeking the help of a child psychologist, psychotherapist, or even your family physician. Each of these people can help you explore other possible causes for the hitting, and help to find the right remedy for your child.

Posted in Toddlers |
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