Prevent sibling rivalry by helping your eldest transition from an only child to a big sister or brother.

8 ways to prepare your toddler for a new sibling

One kiddo was hard enough, now with the second one arriving soon (or more — go, you!), it’s a whole new world. This is especially since your firstborn will soon discover that they will no longer be the centre of your universe, might not always get your full attention, and that things are going to change with the arrival of his new sibling.

You can’t avoid sibling rivalry, but you can try to ease your toddler into his new situation as an older brother or sister.

Before baby arrives

1. Tell your firstborn about your pregnancy, but not too soon. Toddlers don’t really understand the concept of time, so eight or nine months is an eternity to them. Wait until you are really showing and try to explain your due date in terms that they might understand. For instance, say “Chinese New Year” instead of January or February.

2. Expose your toddler to babies and other children. Fix play dates, bring them to playgrounds, meet your friends and their kids, especially babies. This way, he will get used to being around other kids, learn to take turns and share toys.

3. Read stories about babies and pregnancies with your toddler (see below).

4. Show him photos and videos of when he was a baby, then drop hints about what it will be like when baby arrives. For example, tell him “babies cry a lot” or “Mummy and Daddy will have to carry baby, just like we did in this photo with you”.

5. But also talk to him about things that won’t change, like how much mummy and daddy love him.

6. Let him feel baby kicking and moving, encourage him to talk, sing, read to your bump.

7. Take him shopping with you, let him pick out a new outfit for baby.

8. Get him help to decorate baby’s room. He could also help you organise everything that baby needs like the bathtub, the layette and baby toys.


* Ask him if he wants a brother or a sister — he doesn’t get to choose!
* Tell him the baby will be a new playmate ― this won’t happen for several years.
* Rush him into acquiring new skills like potty training when you’re about to give birth.

Books that will ease junior into accepting a new sibling.

Check these out at your neighbourhood library.

Best-Ever Big Sister/Best-Ever Big Brother, by Karen Katz [English KAT]
Fun lift-the-flap books (for ages 1 to 3).

Little Frog’s Tadpole Trouble, by Tatyana Feeney [English FEE]
Little Frog isn’t impressed by his new siblings at first, but they soon grow up and become his playmates (for ages 2 to 6).

Olive Marshmallow, by Katie Saunders [English SAU]
When Archie notices his mummy’s tummy growing, he knows something strange is happening… (for ages 2 to 6).

I’m A Big Sister, by Joanna Cole [English COL]
A book that shows that while a baby will bring many changes, the older sibling is still special (for ages 2 to 5).

Photo: iStock

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