Infants are wonderfully curious by nature. Once your baby hits the toddler stage, you may find that this wide-eyed wonder has extended to touching objects and, yes, putting things in his mouth. This behavior is entirely normal as this is their way of getting to know the world around them.
This curiosity may be the reason why as a parent, you may be anxious to have your baby around other children or pets. We understand that it can be unnerving to watch your baby play with your pets at home, but with a few tips and tricks, you can make it a part of your everyday routine.
Before introducing your baby to other children or pets, ensure that you have set up the space ahead of time. Set the meet-up in a familiar environment. This set-up can be done at home, where other children and pets are acclimated. When the environment is familiar, this creates less anxiety for children and pets alike.
If the child is old enough to understand, inform him ahead of time what to expect from a toddler- this sets expectations on his part and will help lessen frustrations. You can also prepare pets ahead by training them to respect off-limits areas, such as the baby’s crib. With proper preparation, your infant can meet other members of the family with ease.
Use this tip to praise good behavior when your pet is around your infant. Pets can get a bit rowdy, but when they know that their good behavior is praised and rewarded with the occasional treat or snack, this prompts them to behave better in social situations.
Positive reinforcement is not only reserved for the pets in your life but works great for children, too! Use positive reinforcement as encouragement when an older child shows good behavior around your infant. Words like “You did a great job!” or “I like how you behave around the baby” are great ways to encourage older children.
A reward system is also a great way to promote good behavior around an infant. For example, if your older child behaves well around your infant, you can give him a sticker or an occasional treat.
Before introducing your infant to your pets, try to let your pets be familiar with how the baby sounds, where the baby is located and how the baby smells. You can let your pet sniff the baby’s toes or clothes, for example, with your supervision. This allows your pet to be accustomed slowly to a new family member and not perceive your toddler as a threat.
You can also slowly let your infant touch your pet; just make sure that you are there to supervise to make sure that it is a safe space for both your pet and your infant. Your older child can also get used to meeting your toddler by allowing him to join in the activities involving your toddler, such as feeding or changing.
Introducing your toddler to other children and your pets is a fascinating journey. With your supervision, you can create a safe environment for everyone. Try our top tips and watch as the friendship between your toddler, children and pets grow.
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