Will toddler's new room cause sibling rivalry?

We have a 21-month-old son and are expecting another little one soon. My husband and I have been discussing the pros and cons of moving our son to a new room, which is larger, and letting the baby have his existing room. It would be less work for us if the baby could move into the already set-up nursery. If we move the new baby into the room that was always my son's, will he feel that his personal space has been violated, setting up rivalry from the beginning?

Question:

You are very thoughtful to worry about your son's feelings in this matter. I certainly think it is a good idea to change rooms now. It is important to provide some time for him to adjust to his new room before the baby comes. He will LOVE having the bigger room as he gets older. However, you shouldn't necessarily mention the coming baby as you prepare his new room. Instead, tell him that he is ready to move to a "big boy" room.

Put all his favorite toys in the room first. You can even buy him something special (but not too grand) to go into the new room. If he asks about his old room -- and only if he asks -- tell him that it is a room for the new baby.

One caveat: If your son is still in a crib, I would leave him in it. Unless you feel that he is truly ready for a bed, you can move the crib and switch to a bed later.

There will be jealousy and later, sibling rivalry, no matter what you do. It is healthy and normal for a child to experience jealousy when confronted with a new sibling. Later, when the baby is older, comes the joy of seeing them interact together.

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