10 important skills to teach your toddler before your newborn arrives!

Hello & Welcome to Three Babies Under Two!

My daughter was 21 months old when my twins were born, she was in the beginning stages of wanting to do things independently.  Before the twins were born I taught my toddler many important skills to increase her need for independence. Here’s a list of things I went over with my daughter pre-twins, and things I taught her post-twins that I wish I had introduced pre-twins.  Learn from my mistake, work with your little one on what you think will be most important once your newborn arrives! No time like the present!

Skills I taught my toddler that were helpful when the babies arrived!

Independent play skills. This was a difficult one because mom guilt.  You want to constantly play and love on your toddler before the newbie arrives, and that’s fine.  Start playing with toys that are great for independent play, puzzles, books, blocks and slowly fade yourself out.  You can praise your child for playing nicely.  By promoting independent play skills your child will be less dependent on you for their fun!  This is one of the most important skills you can teach your child.

Decreasing tantrums.  Your toddler is young and still learning to cope with emotions, and their emotions are BIG to them.  When asking my toddler to do something I keep my statements short.  I don’t want to overwhelm them with extra words that aren’t important.

Instead of saying, “Hey, come over here, sit down and let’s put your socks and shoes on so we can go.”

Try saying, “Time for socks and shoes.”

Both sentences are telling your toddler it’s time to put on socks and shoes. One will overwhelm your toddler and increase the liklihood of a tantrum. Keep it short.

I’m working on a complete post dedicated to decreasing tantrums in your toddler. Check back soon.


Eating Independently.  Your toddler eating independently is a wonderful skill to focus on before the new babies.  This saves you an insane amount of time feeding your toddler.  With a new baby on the way you’ll need that time to go towards feeding the baby.

Sleep/nap routine.  Your toddler having a good sleep schedule when the new baby arrives will make your life so much easier.  Focus on a good nap schedule and bedtime sleep should fall into place.  We had my toddler napping once from 11 am -1 and sleeping 6 pm- 6am when the twins arrived.  It was a life-saver!  Focus on sleep now.


Things I wished I taught my toddler before the twins arrived.

This list is of things I didn’t even consider to be important until AFTER the babies were born.  Learn from my mistake, teach your littles now!

Being Gentle. Toddlers love hard!  My toddler may be giving her baby sister a hug and just squeezes a little too rough.  It’s best if you start showing your toddler how to be gentle soon, rather than later.  It’s an easy concept.  Just go over it and over it and OVER IT!

Waiting.  It seems at my busiest time is when my toddler always asks for a cup of water and does not want to wait.  Too bad. Teach them young that waiting is part of life.  Especially with siblings on the way, waiting is not avoidable. I’ve started working on busy vs. not busy with my toddler. When she asks for a cup of water, I ask, “Am I busy or not busy?” She usually says busy, because I am and I ask her to wait nicely for a drink.  If she starts to fuss I don’t make her a drink until she is calm.  When she’s calm I have her ask nicely for a drink. Then give her the drink.  It is making a difference in her ability to wait patiently.  However you implement waiting, just do it!

Potty training. We waited until the twins were 6 months to potty train our toddler and she was past ready.  I wish we had started before the babies arrived, we could have cut costs on diapers by a ridiculous amount. Saving money matter!

Climbing into car seat and high chair. If you have a chance of having a c-section this is so important.  You cannot lift your toddler for the first 6 weeks after birth!!  I hadn’t even thought about her getting into chairs or her car seat independently before I had the twins.  I put a step stool in the car so she could get in the seat but I wish I had taught her earlier.  She was capable at the time but I wanted to “help”  her as long as I could until the twins came along.  Don’t be like me, teach your toddler this helpful skill!

Cleaning up.  This was one skill we worked on when the twins were newborns and it was a little rough.  Teach your littles the importance of cleaning up after themselves.  Make up a song, make it fun!  But let me tell you, when newborn babies are crying and your toddler is crying and the room is a mess. It’s probably the worst time to work on cleaning up after playing. It was not fun.

Sharing toys.  My 2.5 year old struggles with this on a daily basis. Her sister play with all her toys and that’s how it will be forever now.  She is getting better with sharing but I wish I would have practiced with her before they came.


Learn from my mistakes, work on these skills with your toddler often.  The more you teach your toddler now the easier that transition will be on them too!  Make it fun for them. Reward their good behaviors and love on them soo much before the newbies come along!

What was a skill you taught your little one that helped you when welcoming a sibling?

10 thoughts on “10 important skills to teach your toddler before your newborn arrives!

  1. Im definitely out of this mommy season but it’s definitely easier to bring a newborn home when the toddler is sleeping well and on her/his own routine. 🙂 Great post.

    1. Heyy Jillian. Thanks for checking out Three babies under two! I love hearing from you and sooo agree, when toddlers sleep well life is just easier ALL AROUND!
      Thanks again and hope you come back soon!
      Bekah Smith

  2. My girls are almost exactly two years apart and I promise my list of things I wish I had done was way longer than yours! My little is 2 now so it all seems like a distant memory now! I do remember my older one regressing a little in some areas once the baby came. We all just do the best we can!!!! Good post!

    1. Thanks for checking out Three babies under two Alyson! I appreciate your insight! I’d LOVE to hear what other helpful tips mom’s could use before they introduce their newborn. It’s such a tough transition for all. 🙂
      Thanks again for stopping by, please come back soon!
      Bekah Smith

  3. When I had my daughter, my son was 18 months old. You are SO right about these skills! It is a hard job but worth every minute! It definitely would have been nice to have my older child potty trained but it just wasn’t meant to be!

    1. Ohhhh Morgan! I totally feel you. My daughter shows some interest in potty training but at that time I was 30 weeks pregnant with twins and basically useless. Some things just have to wait but had I known what would have been helpful maybe I could have started sooner. HAha. I’d like to think I would have started soon at least. Thanks SO much for stoppping by Three Babies Under Two! I love hearing from you!
      Bekah Smith

    1. Oh My goodness Yes! Independent play is awful to start. I want to play with my child but I also want them to be okay doing tasks and playing by themselves. It’s soo difficult at first, then you see your child using their imagination and it’s amazing!
      Thanks so much for checking out Three Babies Under Two. I hope you come back soon and often!
      Bekah Smith!

    1. Hey Melissa! I’m so glad you stopped by Three Babies Under Two. I love hearing from mom’s that spaced their babies out! I bet your daughter was so excited to have a little sibling, and 6 is SUCH a fun age!! Thanks again for stopping by!
      Bekah Smith

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