Welcoming a New Baby: A Guide to Helping Siblings Adjust

The arrival of a new baby is a joyous occasion, but it can also bring about significant changes in the family dynamic. Toddlers, in particular, may find it challenging to adapt to the idea of a new family member, as they are still developing their understanding of the world around them. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of preparing toddlers for the arrival of a new baby sibling and provide practical tips on how to make this transition smoother.

1: Start Early with Children's Books and TV Shows

One effective way to introduce the concept of a new sibling to a toddler is through age-appropriate children's books and TV shows. Choose books that focus on the positive aspects of becoming an older sibling, emphasising the joy of having a new playmate and friend.

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Here are some popular choices which I personally used and loved:

Similarly, consider watching television programs that showcase positive sibling relationships. Shows like "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" and "Peppa Pig" often have episodes centered around welcoming a new sibling, portraying the experience in a relatable and reassuring manner.

2: Engage in Role-Playing Activities

Toddlers learn through play, so incorporating role-playing activities can be an effective way to help them understand their upcoming role as an older sibling. Set up scenarios where the toddler can pretend to feed, nappy change, or cuddle a baby doll. This hands-on experience allows them to grasp the concept of caregiving and fosters a sense of responsibility.

Encourage open communication during these role-playing sessions by asking questions like, "How do you think we should take care of the baby?" This not only helps them express their thoughts but also provides insights into any concerns or misconceptions they may have.

3: Visit Friends with Newborns

If possible, arrange playdates with friends or family members who have recently welcomed a newborn. (Please ask them first if this is ok! If they say yes, make sure you take them food and do some tidying up during your short visit.) This firsthand experience allows toddlers to observe a real baby, understand the sounds and movements associated with infants, and witness the caregiving routines involved. Seeing that the baby is not a threat and that their parents still have time and love for them can alleviate anxieties.

4: Maintain Routine and Stability

Toddlers thrive on routine/rhythms and stability, and the impending arrival of a new sibling can disrupt their sense of security. Try to maintain the toddler's daily routines as much as possible, whether it's mealtimes, nap schedules, or playtime. Consistency helps toddlers feel more secure in the midst of change.

5: Encourage Emotional Expression

It's essential to acknowledge and validate the toddler's emotions throughout this transition. Encourage them to express their feelings through words, drawings, or play. Acknowledge any concerns they may have and provide reassurance that they are loved and valued. By fostering emotional expression, you create an environment where the toddler feels supported in navigating their emotions.

6: Involve the Toddler in Baby Care Tasks

Once the new baby arrives, involve the toddler in age-appropriate caregiving tasks. Simple activities like fetching nappies, helping with bath time (under supervision), or singing lullabies together can strengthen the bond between siblings. Reinforce the idea that they are an important part of the caregiving team.

7: Celebrate Sibling Bonds

Celebrate the positive aspects of sibling relationships by creating special traditions or rituals. This could include a weekly "sibling time" where the family engages in an activity together or a special bedtime routine that involves both siblings. Highlighting the joy of growing up together fosters a sense of camaraderie and shared experiences.

8: Plan for One-On-One Time

Once the baby arrives and you've had some time to rest and adjust, plan some quality one-on-one time with your toddler or older child. This could be 10 minutes at bedtime reading a book together, going for a walk to the local playground, or planning a day date together. This special time together will become sacred for you both and will ensure you both stay connected and present.


Welcoming a new baby into the family is a significant milestone that requires thoughtful preparation, especially when there are toddlers involved. By introducing the concept through children's books and TV shows, engaging in role-playing activities, arranging playdates with newborns, creating a special space for the toddler, maintaining routine, encouraging emotional expression, involving them in baby care tasks, and celebrating sibling bonds, you can help your toddler navigate this transition with a sense of excitement and positivity. Remember, patience, communication, and love are key ingredients in ensuring a smooth adjustment for both the toddler and the new baby.


If you would like some more book recommendations, check out this post here for Parenting and Healing related books.

Crystal Hardstaff, The Gentle Counsellor, provides a safe haven for healing and understanding. With expertise in Trauma, Attachment Theory, Perinatal Mental Health, and Parenting Support, Crystal offers individual and couple counselling sessions, guiding you through a journey of healing and growth.

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Are you seeking a safe space where your feelings and experiences are not only heard but deeply understood? I'm here to guide you through your journey of healing and growth. With my specialisations in Trauma, Attachment Theory, Perinatal Mental Health, and Parenting Support, I offer individual and couple counselling sessions that address your unique needs.

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