5 Super Easy Ways to Bond With Your Toddler After a New Baby

5 Super Easy Ways to Bond With Your Toddler After a New Baby

Wondering how to carve out time for your toddler after a new baby? Try these five tips.


By: Nicole Fabian-Weber

One of, if not, the biggest fears of mine about having a second baby was: What will become of my relationship with my daughter – my first born. my oft-described sidekick? When I was pregnant with my son, I’d been warned by many well-intentioned people that the special bond my daughter and I shared would be altered after a new baby entered the picture (at least in the beginning) -- and it seriously bummed me out.

Turns out, these well-intentioned people were both right and wrong. While I obviously don’t have as much one-on-one time with my daughter now that there’s a newborn to tend to, I’ve made a conscious effort to make sure that the time my girl and I have together counts. And although I can’t say the first few weeks of having a newborn and a toddler have been without challenges, I can definitely say that the time I’ve carved out to bond with my daughter has done wonders for both of us.

Wondering how to connect with your toddler when you’ve got a brand new screaming, pooping, hungry-'round-the-clock roommate? Try these five tips.

1. Take baths and/or showers together. Of course, this depends on your child’s age/how comfortable you are with this, but in my weary, sleep-deprived postpartum weeks, I’ve found that bathing with my 2 1/2-year-old has been a great way for me to reset personally (showers -- ahhh!), as well as being a means to reconnect with my eldest. Sometimes we'll listen to music, sometimes we'll play with bath crayons and other toys; sometimes we'll simply soak and talk. It's a super easy way to lock out the outside world and just be together.

2. Go for a "special walk" around the neighborhood. If you’re breastfeeding, you’re somewhat limited in where you can go and for how long when you first have a baby, so a jaunt around the neighborhood is the perfect outing for you and your toddler. On nicer days, when my husband is home to care for our infant son, my daughter and I will cruise around our neighborhood for 45 minutes or so. Before we leave, I’ll talk up our "special walk," asking her what kinds of things she thinks we’ll find, etc. A few times we’ve brought brown paper bags to collect rocks, sticks, and other "treasures."

3. Make time for a "date" to one of your usual spots. If you and your toddler had a spot you frequented before the baby arrived, there’s no reason to stop going there. (In fact, being that your oldest is already experiencing so many changes, he or she will be grateful for the familiarity.) Again, when my husband is home, my daughter and I will head out to the smoothie spot where we've always gone together. It's nothing fancy, but it's so nice to sit down somewhere outside of our house, just the two of us, and do something we've always done.

More from P&G everyday: 7 Ways to Prepare Your Older Child for the Arrival of a New Baby

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4. Be the one to put your toddler to bed at night. Toward the end of my pregnancy, my husband was often the one who put our daughter to sleep at night. I was with her most of the day, and the thought of walking up and down the stairs again was simply too exhausting. But, now that I'm no longer 14 months pregnant, I make sure I put my daughter to sleep as often as possible. It's such a intimate time, and it feels so good to cuddle and talk in the darkness.

5. Do something only "big kids" can do. The adorableness of newborns is hard to ignore, so when you're out with your kids or when visitors come to your home, people are bound to make a fuss over your baby -- and, in turn, that may irritate your toddler. Make your oldest feel special by doing something only "big kids" can do. A few days after I came home from the hospital, my daughter and I made cookies together, and she seemed secretly pleased when I told her that the baby couldn't have any because they were only for big girls. (Though it is worth noting that she tried to feed him one when I wasn't looking.)

How do you carve out special time for each of your kids?



Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and equally sweet baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications.

Image ©iStock.com/romrodinka



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