Using A Toy Doll To Help Toddler Adjust To New Sibling

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by Patrice on January 12, 2011 · 0 comments

in Behavior

Child Behavior

Bringing a new sibling into a home with a toddler carries unique problems. Not only does the problem of sibling rivalry have to be addressed, but finding a way to communicate the need for the toddler to be gentle around the new baby can also be tricky.

Many moms let the toddler learn how to interact with the infant by letting them practice with a baby doll of their own.

Helping mommy by taking care of the other baby makes the toddler feel special. It also shows them that even while mommy is busy feeding, changing or bathing the baby that she still has time for the older sibling by including the doll. Let the toddler choose whether they want to be a parent to the doll or the helpful older sibling. Let them pretend to mimic mom by taking care of their own pretend baby. Make the game more rewarding for the toddler by acknowledging when the toddler has finished a task and how happy the doll seems now.

Once the toddler has practiced the art of gently encouraging the doll baby to learn simple things the infant will learn anyway, like how to smile, they can move on to the task of teaching the real baby to smile with a gentle touch. Depending on the type of doll used, the toddler will enjoy having the little brother or sister learn to respond while the doll is a bit ‘slower’.

When it’s baby nap time, the toddler can tuck the doll in and take advantage of one on one mom time, knowing that the new baby is not taking away any of the love and attention the toddler has grown to expect.

Encouraging the toddler to try to sooth baby doll when your own baby is fretful will also give the toddler the idea that the new baby is not perfect. That will help the toddler feel more secure in the new position of older child.

A toddler is not going to want to play the ‘parenting game’ for the entire day, so be careful not to over encourage it. Take advantage of the learning lessons the doll can provide, but also let the doll sleep so that the toddler can pursue other activities.

About Patrice

Patrice Campbell is a freelance writer working from the Denver area. Campbell started her writing career in the 1980’s, working for several Wisconsin local papers as a news, human interest and features writer, as well as a photographer.

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