Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The best and worst books to prepare a toddler for new baby

...according to what my library had available at the time.

**Disclaimer: there were two more books on the shelf, but I was still on "delinquent borrower status" (long story) until last night, so I picked the five that were the most appealing to me WITHOUT previously opening the cover.

Here's what I was looking for:

  • A book with a positive message (duh)
  • Something a 2 1/2 year old could roughly follow, or at least understand the concept if I talked her through it
  • Something I wouldn't mind reading a bunch of times over the next two weeks
  • Something that might actually make a difference in helping Celine's adjustment.
Yes, I know she's only 2 1/2, but I'd rather be over prepared than under prepared. I want to do everything I can to make this transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved. For Monica, that basically means she needs to really understand the word "gentle." For Celine, this means using a step stool to brush her teeth on her own, switching to a toddler bed, and having significantly less one on one time with me. A little prep can't hurt.

So off to the library I went. We finally got a chance to read them through today and here are the preferences, according to mom and toddler.

5. When the New Baby Comes, I'm Moving Out by Martha Alexander - Seriously, this book is the worst. The first 75% of the book is the toddler complaining, throwing a fit, and threatening to throw mom in the trash and leave her at the dump, complete with pictures. Like my kids are going to need examples of ways to insult me. Then 20% is Mom trying to convince the toddler a baby will be fun but not near as fun as him. The last 5% has almost no words when the toddler finally decides he can stay up late if he helps, therefore he can't wait to be a big sibling. Umm... no.

4. Froggy's Baby Sister by Jonathan London - Froggy has become a pretty well-known book series, so I figured there might be something to this one. It wasn't too long and Froggy does end up liking the baby, but the fact the author focused so much on them being frogs (I know, right?), it made the story unreliable. He can't feed her flies or play with her until she loses her tail... not quite what I want Celine to assume about her brother. I mean, I don't want her to feed him flies ever. Cute, but not relatable or practical. Thus, a four.

3. Mr. Bear's New Baby by Debi Gliori - I'm sure this book is great, but Celine was bored after about a page and a half. I wasn't too bent out of shape about missing the opportunity to read it. If she can't give it much of a chance to start with, I doubt it's going to get us very far. Thus, it earned the third spot. So, neutral, I guess?

2. Arthur's Baby by Marc Brown - Arthur books tend to be longer and wordier than my kids generally go for, but they've gotten used to the Arthur books now (and love playing "I Spy" with the detail in the background of the pictures), so this one went over pretty well. Arthur had to make some adjustment, was hesitant at first, but eventually steps up to his big brother role. Better than what we've read so far at this point, so it takes the number 2 slot.

1. You're a Big Sister by David Bedford and Susie Poole - This book was a slam dunk and we've already read it 6 or 7 times. The pictures are adorable. The story is short and to the point. It shows ways to help, how to talk to and play with a baby, and stresses that the big sister is still loved (and there's more love to go around) with baby in the picture. We're probably going to buy it... something tells me we'll need a copy on hand for a while.

Fellow mamas, how did you help your little ones make the switch when the time came? Did you prep at all? I'd love to hear any tips and wisdom you have to share.

Happy reading!!

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