Our 2 year old fears new baby arrival

Dear Ann,
I have a friend who has a newborn and a 2 year old son who is having a hard time transitioning out of being an only child. I was trying to remember the advice you gave some of the new mom’s in our workshop and the only thing I remember is that the child feels like he is going to be replaced by the baby…which is what is happening to this little boy. I was wondering if you could refresh my mind as to what the solutions are. Do you have something listed on the internet that I could refer my friend to? Hope all is going great for you. Regards, Pamela

Dr. Ann Corwin, The Parenting Doctor Advice

Pamela,

Great to hear from you, but sorry for your friend’s challenges with her two year old. You are absolutely right a two year old is scared when the new baby arrives! The first thing to think about is reassuring the two year old that they are not going anywhere…one of the best ways to do this is to play peek-a-boo or an age appropriate hide-and-go-seek…telling the child even though you cannot see me I am always here and always will be. Then be sure to give the child a “special” hello and good-bye signal or hand shake, so that the child associates that when my parents leave they “always” do it this way and they will “always” be back because they have to “finish” the routine of hello-good-bye!

Then talk to your two year old about how different they are from the baby…the uniqueness assures them that they will not be replaced…say things like “you are our only two year old boy with blue eyes”, etc.! Lastly, have the two year old take ownership of the new baby by giving them something they are in charge of and no one else…like the babies feet and they get to pick socks each day or always be the one to sing “this little piggy” and count toes! Hope this helps? Dr. Ann