Responding To Toddler Who Wants A Sibling, But You Don’t


There are a lot of universal truths when it comes to toddlers. They are fun, they say the darndest things and they love to throw tantrums. Maybe they don’t love to throw them, but they are known for them. Toddlers are also incredibly curious by nature, and that is all a part of their development. This means that they can ask their parents all kinds of questions, and they usually come with very little warning. They can catch mom and dad off guard if they are not prepared, which leaves them scrambling to try and find answers.

Some of the questions they ask are harder to answer than others. Like when they ask where babies come from, and this can make any parent uncomfortable. They can ask why the sky is blue, and mom now has to remember back to when she was in school to try and answer. They can also ask questions that mom knows the answer to, but she is just not sure how to tell them. One of those questions may be when they are going to get a brother or sister. If mom and dad are “one-and-done,” or they are just done having children, they may want to know how to break the news to their toddler.

RELATED: Why I Thought I Only Wanted One Child, But Eventually Changed My Mind

When Do They Start Asking?

While every child is different, there are other moms who share their experiences on when their toddlers started asking for a sibling, and why they asked. According to Eze Breezy, one mom stated that her daughter started asking her when she was around 3 years old. She said that she was likely inspired because they had started going to playdates and other events and she became more aware that other children had siblings. This can be when a child starts to think about how their family looks different than others, and when these innocent questions can start coming up. So, how can mom navigate these conversations?

Be Honest

According to Psychology Today, the most important thing to remember when tackling this question is to be honest. It is not wise to tell a ‘white lie’ and say maybe one day when you know that you are not going to have another child. It is also important to be developmentally appropriate. A toddler likely doesn’t need a full run-down on all the reasons why you are done having children. They will likely not understand and may continue to ask the question.

Mom should really stick with the simple, “we are not going to have another child” she can add that the one child they have is perfect and that is all they need if that is developmentally appropriate.

Validate Their Feelings

If you are honest with them, it is likely that they are going to respond in an emotional manner. They may be mad, frustrated, disappointed, or sad and because they are toddlers, their emotions are likely going to be big. According to Parents, it is important to make sure you are validating their emotions and telling them that you understand that they are upset and that it can be hard to hear that you are not getting what you want.

Part of validating a child’s feelings is finding out why they want a sibling so bad. This could give parents an insight into where this feeling is coming from. Is it jealousy of a playmate that has a brother or sister? Do they want to have a baby that they can help you with? Finding out why they want a sibling is important and it can help drive the conversation.

Highlight The Positives

When it comes to dealing with big emotions in a toddler one of the best strategies remains to be a distraction. Distraction has been a tool that has been used for decades, and it is one that works. In this situation, it does not mean ignoring your toddler and hoping that they forget about it eventually and stop asking (even though that would be easier). Mom can distract her toddler by talking about the positives of being an only child, or not having another one. This can be anything from reminding them of all the fun they are having together or the fact that your child gets mommy and daddy all to themselves. By pointing out all the positive things in their life, you can help distract them from their disappointment and remind them of how much fun you all have together.

It is also important to make sure you are content with your decision. Toddlers are very good at picking up on their parent’s emotions, and if you are not content, they will pick up on that.

Sources: Eze Breezy, Psychology Today, Parents

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