What to do When a Toddler is Clingy to Pregnant Mom?
Being pregnant with another bundle of joy is an exciting event for not only you and your partner but also any of your other children as well. Sometimes, however, your children don’t get that memo and you may find your toddler is clingy to their pregnant mom and their behavior changes in a negative way. This may sound like an old wives tale, but it is a very real problem for many expecting moms. How can a mom cope with a clingy toddler and an ever-changing body as your delivery day draws closer? This helpful guide will help overcome this issue so that bringing home baby will be a day of joy and little stress for all family members.
Don’t Stress or Take it Personally
First it is very important to realize that toddler clinginess is very normal and happens even when a new sibling isn’t on the way. It is a developmental stage which many parents deal with so try not to stress over it thinking it is only your child going through this rough time. It doesn’t mean your toddler will hate the new baby and hate you too. Your anxiety and stress level will directly affect your toddler and may even make the situation worse, not to mention it is not good for you while pregnant.
Before you decide that your toddler’s clingy behavior is linked to your pregnancy and/or a developmental phase, you should rule out illness since children tend to become more clingy when they aren’t feeling well. If you notice the clinginess starting around the time of a cold or flu, you should wait it out to see if the behavior improves with your little one’s health. If not, you can try these ideas and techniques to ease his clingy behavior.
Give Lots of Notice
I am not referring to your place of employment when mentioning giving lots of notice, but instead your toddler. Little ones need lots of time to transition to new situations and warm up to changes in their environment. This means, as soon as you feel comfortable sharing your exciting news with others, it is also a good time to start introducing the idea to your toddler that they will be soon welcoming a sibling to the house and that your belly will be growing with a new baby.
Use Toys as an Aid
You can use toys and pretend play to your advantage. You may feel silly at first walking around with a doll in your arms but this gives your toddler a chance to see you with another little person and to see that babies are precious and want love too. You can sing to the doll together, change “diapers”, pretend to give a bottle—all the things your toddler may see you doing with the baby once he arrives. Getting your toddler their very own baby will give them a sense of importance and being helpful. And yes—boys can have a baby doll too. They aren’t just for girls anymore.
Involve Family and Friends
If you have family and close friends whom your child is familiar with that live nearby, enlist their help. Have your child visit them for an hour or two while you run errands. When you drop your toddler off, give them a kiss goodbye, assure them you will be back soon and leave. Do not draw out your departure and do not give in if/when they start to cry. Also, don’t try to sneak out—this will defeat the entire purpose of leaving your toddler to get use to the idea of you being unavailable to them. You will obviously need to speak to your friend or family member beforehand about how to calm your child once you leave but rest assured, your toddler will be just fine. This technique is discussed in this short video as well.
Routine is Important
Toddlers thrive on knowing what to expect in their environment. A new sibling coming along may be scary to them and signal upcoming unknown changes, so having a routine is one way to give your toddler a sense of security. Your toddler will thrive on a set routine according to Positive Parenting Connection. Have a breakfast routine where you may get them to help with preparation in some small way; have an evening story time together every night; start a bedtime routine if you haven’t yet done that. These are all predictable events your toddler will recognize and feel good knowing that haven’t changed in their little world. It also gives them an opportunity to engage in activities with you one on one. There are lots of free printable visuals you can find online.
Get Your Toddler Socially Involved
Find local play groups or social activities which are age appropriate for your toddler to take part in. Not only will your little one benefit from the social interaction, so will mom! These groups give your toddler the chance to explore their world with peers and gain confidence and security knowing they can branch out a bit and that you will still be there for them. The groups give you a break from being clung onto and allow you to make new friends with other parents. Enjoying a few hours out together will only strengthen your mother and child bond and add to your little one’s security and confidence level.
Praise All Victories
We all like to feel successful and appreciated in our tasks, and toddlers are no different. When your child shows independence by carrying out a task independently or allowing you to leave without issue, give her lots of praise for doing a great job and being a “big kid”. The praise you give will make them want to please you further and receive more praise. This technique can be use for almost any task you give your toddler to compete. It is important, though, not to extend your goodbye by using praises since your child will come to expect it at that time, and may use it as a way to prolong your departure.
Make Time—Chores Will Wait
The dishes need done, the laundry needs washed and the floors need swept but those chores can wait. Put your toddler first and make some time for a little one on one activity time with him. According to SleepSense.net spend some time one on one and avoid even talking about the new baby. It doesn’t have to be an expensive activity or outing, it can be as simple as doing puzzles together or reading a sing-along book together. Your child will value this special time and feel more secure in their relationship with you.
You Can Do This…
Have faith that you can help ease your toddler into becoming a big brother or big sister and to overcome their clingy behavior. You don’t need special materials or equipment or expensive therapies. Everything can be done with a little patience, perseverance and faith in your capabilities. Try not to get upset with your toddler. Punishing him or yelling at him will only add to any insecurities. You can do this with the help of your partner, family and close friends. Just think of it as another parenting challenge, which may seem very tough but surmountable in time.
Hopefully you have found this post helpful in answering your question about coping with a toddler clingy to pregnant mom. Please leave your comments and suggestions after you have read through the post, we love to hear your feedback on the topic. Feel free to leave ideas that you have found works well with helping your toddler transition without the clinginess too.