Managing the arrival of a new sibling

All children react differently to the arrival of a new baby in the family, but there are ways you can help your toddler and pre-schooler to accept their new sibling and still feel special.
All children react differently to the arrival of a new baby in the family, but there are ways you can help your toddler and pre-schooler to accept their new sibling and still feel special.

For a toddler or pre-schooler accustomed to your undivided attention, discovering how much time is needed for their new sibling can come as a bit of a shock to them. Not to mention all of the presents the new arrival gets from friends and relatives!

Some toddlers enjoy playing the role of big brother or sister and suddenly seem to grow up, but others find it hard to understand why they have to share their parents.

So, how do you cope with your toddler or pre-schooler on top of your new baby duties?


Attention seeking behaviour is common. Your toddler's or pre-schooler's actions will show how they feel, as at this age they’ll find it hard to communicate through words.

If they’re old enough, talk to them about how they're feeling and tell them how much you still love them.

Often the older child will temporarily regress to an earlier stage in their development in an attempt to gain more of your attention. This calls for patience, love and spending time with them.


Try to include your toddler in as many of your activities with your baby as possible.

Ask their opinion and involve them in your decisions where you can.

Asking them to help with your baby’s care (even if it’s not helpful!), such as fetching nappies or wipes, finding small toys for the baby to play with etc, will make them feel important.

Teach your toddler or pre-schooler how to cuddle, touch and talk to the baby while you watch them.

Share good memories of your older child as a baby.

It’s not always practical for your little one to help out, so put together some small books and games in a special box so that they can sit next to you and play whilst you’re feeding or changing the baby.

Quality time

It’s important to set aside one-on-one time with your toddler or pre-schooler.

Perhaps plan things for when your baby is sleeping or ask family or friends to look after your baby so you can spend some quality alone time with your older child.

Play games, go to the park or even do some baking together. Aim to do activities that will encourage you both to communicate and really make the most of your time together.


Where possible, try to keep your toddler's and pre-schooler's daily routine the same as it was before the baby arrived.

From bedtimes routines and nap times to attending daycare or kindy, going to activity classes or catching up with friends on a regular basis. Young children thrive on routines!

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