Tips to Help Transition Your Child to the New Baby


My eldest daughter Mia became a big sister to a new baby a year ago. Though it’s been a big transition for all of us, I’m happy to report that she absolutely loves her younger brother. Yes, they do have their interactions at times, but she’s adjusted so well into her older sibling role.

Here are some tips to help your older child adjust to the new baby from birth to the first year.

1. Accept your child’s feelings of baby early on.

We can be so excited for our child to meet the baby at the hospital, and this can be a beautiful experience for the whole family. However, your child can also be less than interested in the new baby, this was our case. So instead of pressing for them to be with baby, spend a little time with your child and express that he/she was deeply missed and you will all be home together soon.

Tips to Help Transition Your Child to the New Baby
My daughter and I at the hospital (a photo without baby)

2. Sympathize with your child through this new change.

Having a new baby at home can be a difficult change for your older child to accept. Explain these feelings using words that affirm your love for him or her. For example; “It can be frustrating to have to share mommy with the new baby.” If your child can talk, let them speak and try to keep the word “but” and “the baby” out of your conversation. Your child most likely just wants to know that they still matter to you aside from the baby.

3. Include your older child in your new routine.

I tried as much as I could to do everything I had to do with baby with my toddler. I changed the baby’s diaper in the playroom while my daughter was playing. And had the baby in the playroom so he could be with us. This really helped my daughter be around the baby so she could see and be a part of our new routine. Of course there were a lot of times when I had to teach my daughter how to behave with the baby, and this took a lot of practice, but it was well worth it.

4. Teach your older child to “trade” with the baby

Your child will most likely want to play with the baby’s toys. Never mind how many toys they own, they will begin to experience the new feeling of wanting to play with something that someone else is playing with. You can spend your whole first year yelling, “Give that back to the baby!” OR you can teach your child to give the baby another toy to play with, (PS at this stage your baby probably won’t mind 😉 ) Ask your child, “The baby was playing with that, can you give the baby something else he/she can play with?” This technique saved us from many tears.

5. Teach your older child to play on higher surfaces

Your little baby will soon be mobile and that can be a tricky season for your child. Because now the baby can intervene in their play, bring down a tower of blocks, or take their toys and that can bring many new challenges. So at this point you can teach your child to play in areas where the baby can’t reach. I showed my daughter, if you don’t want the baby to touch your tower, play on the bed, the dining table, etc. Any higher surface where the baby couldn’t intervene.

Tips to Help Transition Your Child to the New Baby

6. Give yourself some grace and time to adjust as well

There will be times when no matter how much you try to give your older child attention and love, the baby will require a lot of your time. There were a lot of times when I lost my patience and when my motherly instincts pulled me to “protect” the baby from my daughter. So just like I had to sympathize with her new feelings, I also had to give myself grace with my own feelings. It’s important that you understand that there will be a time when the baby won’t be so vulnerable to their older siblings, and you will also be able to give more time to your older child.

This new season can be so sweet and beautiful as you get to see a new caring side to your child for their new sibling. But this will take time and a lot of patience. Remind yourself, you are going to be an awesome Mama of siblings!