Help! My toddler gets REALLY jealous around other kids

Kinderling News & Features

Whether you're holding a friend’s baby or your own, toddlers can get pretty territorial when it comes to their mummy or daddy. Recently, Kinderling listener Yvonne asked Kinderling Helpline for help to banish the green-eyed monster from her house. She wrote:

My two-year-old daughter throws a tantrum anytime I hold another child or even interact with one. I’d love your advice on how to deal with this?”

Our resident expert Chris Minogue – mothercraft nurse of 30 years and author of Bringing Baby Home – says jealousy is a common issue but it’s one that can be overcome.

“She’s just letting you know she doesn’t want you to do that,” says Chris. “Of course, you should be holding other people’s babies and you might even go on to have another baby of your own, and she’s going to have to relate to that as well.”

Of course, Miss Two might have other ideas, so here’s two tactics to try to soothe your possessive little person.

1. Don’t play into the jealousy

Want to hold a baby or play with another toddler? Do it and don’t feel bad about it, says Chris. It’s important that your kids learn to interact around other children, and besides, baby cuddles are the best.

“If you have chosen to pick up a friend’s new baby, then give them a cuddle and then hand the baby back, and then give your child some reassurance.”

She adds that with more exposure and more maturity, the issue should subside.

2. Get your child interacting with baby too

If number one doesn't work, Chris suggest this more elaborate technique to calm the waters. When you’re holding a new baby, ensure you do it close to your own child – that way, they don’t spy you across the room and think you’re being sneaky.

If need be, get down on their level on the couch or even the floor, and have them sit near you and the baby.

“Then get some interaction going,” advises Chris. “You might say to her ‘can you go over and get mummy that [toy] and bring it back?’ Or ‘Can you go get the baby your doll and bring it back over to her?’ That way, the baby’s there in the environment but we’re not overly reacting to the baby.”

This should prove bub’s not a threat and definitely not taking mummy or daddy away. 

Check out Chris' book Bringing Baby Home on the Pan McMillan website.