What causes it? The arrival of a new baby may cause mixed feelings to your toddler. After being used to having ALL of the love and attention of their parents, they now have to adjust to having to share it with the newest member of the family. Their pride in being an Ate or Kuya may give way to feelings of jealousy and anger. They might also fear being replaced and abandoned by their parents. Toddlers are at the age when they still need to get used to being separated from their parents.
What are the signs? The most common signs are emotional or physical regression. Your toddler may start acting like a baby. If they are potty-trained, they might start wetting their clothes. If they stopped sucking their thumbs, they might do it again.
What to do? Here are some tips to reassure your toddler that you and your spouse continue to love and care for him or her. • Before giving birth, include the older sibling in preparations for the baby. Let them help choose a name, pick toys and clothes, and preparing the nursery. • Read books about becoming a big brother or big sister. Some good titles are Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats, I’m a Big Brother by Joana Cole, I’m a Big Sister by Joanna Cole. • Review baby book or photos with your toddler to point out he or she was cared for in just the same way when he or she was born. You can also make references to how he or she would always be sleeping or crying just like the new baby. • Suggest to friends and family to bring presents for both baby and sibling. Stock on little token gifts for your older sibling so they don’t feel neglected when baby is lavished with presents and toys. • Don’t compare your kids. Treat them as individuals. • Plan special individualized time with your toddler. It can be a trip to the playground, reading a book together (with no interruptions from baby) or going out for merienda. • Play up their role as Ate and Kuya. Give them little jobs to help with the baby and thank them for being a good helper. • Remind your toddler the advantages of not being a baby - riding a tricycle, play groups with friends, reading a book on your own – when they start complaining that he or she wishes they were babies again.