There's no denying that toddlers love to help. Even when that "help" may be a little too much, and a little too "annoying." Though we do want to encourage independence and a helpful nature at a young age, toddlers want to try and do everything on their own. Sometimes it is best for the parent to delegate wisely when it comes to helping out with the new baby.
Considering their often independent nature, we have listed 10 ways that a toddler can help with their new sibling. Not only will these exercises help develop a special bond between children, but it will also help ensure the toddler will be less annoyed with the attention that is given solely to the infant. Read ahead for some extra inspiration!
10 GRAB THE DIAPERS
This is such an easy task: when the baby needs a diaper, ask the toddler to grab it for you. This will allow the older child to feel as though they're involved with such a common task. It is something that will occur quite often, especially while the infant in is their newborn stage.
So, ask your toddler to grab something that not only you but the baby needs will remind them that they too are needed. They're important. And they're fully capable of helping in even the most mundane tasks.
9 FOLD BABY CLOTHES
Teaching children at a young age that folding laundry is not necessarily a bad thing is a great thing to instill. Providing a positive experience, even in folding laundry, is a great way to let them know chores can be "fun."
Considering how small baby clothes can be, show the toddler how to fold their baby socks into each other. Starting small is a great way to show the importance of help. Even when it comes to the big and common jobs that parents do so often.
8 FEED THE BABY
What a great and fun way to show how productive the toddler can be! It's also incredibly rewarding. Expect a lot of laughs and giggles from the baby as the toddler feeds their sibling.
The toddler will feel so accomplished knowing that they are assisting with meal time. Make sure you have paper towels on deck—it's going to be a messy one!
7 TURN THEIR MONITOR ON & OFF
This is a very simple task that will introduce your child to technology at an early age. If they are not yet glued to the iPad or your iPhone, a baby monitor is an appropriate and simple object to ask for their help. Anytime the baby is put down for their nap, it's hard to manage a toddler while you run away quickly to settle the baby.
If you trust the toddler, hand them their monitor. Teach them which button to touch and which not to. When they listen, give them a sticker. Show them the importance of safety and how watching the infant sleep is very vital.
6 SING SLEEPY SONGS
Everyone loves a good song, especially if that song is sung by many! Toddlers love rhythm. Children love music. Singing a song together to the baby will be very special moments between the three (or four) of you.
If it's a nursery rhyme that they already know or one that they want to make up on the spot, singing a sleepy song is a great way to have the toddler assist with a nap and/or bedtime.
5 HELP PUSH THE STROLLER
Toddlers love to see how strong they are. More often than not, most toddlers will want to run loose and be freed from the grasp of their stroller seats. We suggest embracing their independent nature and ask for their help.
Whether they are pulling the side to help navigate which way their stroller turns or stand right in front of the parent's body to push from the back, asking the toddler to help push the stroller is a very hands-on and immediate, rewarding task. They'll be thrilled you asked!
4 TURN ON THE BABY SWING
Again, having the toddler assist in very minor, technical help can be incredibly rewarding to the toddler. They will feel "grown up" and independent. Whether the child has discovered the swing's buttons already or not, it's still a nice way to incorporate their help if the baby is in the swing.
Allow them to get in the habit: anytime the baby is in the swing, have them press the "on" button. They'll be so excited to help anytime their sibling is placed in their rocker.
Storytime is an incredible habit to get into with both children. It's also a great way to incorporate the reading lessons with your toddler to allow them to "teach" the baby.
Age and skill level permitting, perhaps the toddler can recite their ABC's or point out the letters and/or small words they know. Storytime is a great way to have the toddler help before bedtime.
2 BATH TIME
Bath time is double the fun when both children are involved. Not only do you save on water by "killing two birds with one stone," but you also can help the toddler by providing fun games with toys; bringing the parent the right soap or shampoo; and even cleaning certain areas like their head, their elbow, shoulders, and hands.
Not only will this help the toddler label their appropriate body parts, but it will have them feeling more helpful with their little sibling. It's a win-win!
1 TUMMY TIME
Tummy Time is an incredibly important few minutes in your baby's day. Baby-see, baby-do. So, if your toddler is able to mimic the baby by laying on their stomach, the baby may follow suit.
It will be a fun time to introduce new floor games or new stories that you've creatively made up. While the baby practices and builds their neck and back strength, your toddler will be more involved than they usually would. Encourage them to help any which way they can! They'll feel great about being a big sibling.