Having a new baby around can be tough on older siblings, especially kids under 5 who are used to having lots of attention from Mom and Dad. You can help make a new big brother or sister feel important, too, with a special sibling gift. Mom and Dad, give one of these gifts to your older child with a little note saying it’s from the baby and you’ll help set the stage for future acts of brotherly and sisterly love.
Special day with mom or dad
Sure, building blocks and stuffed animals are great, but what older siblings really crave is Mom and Dad’s attention. You can make sure they get it with the promise of a special day just for them. Take a piece of construction paper and some crayons and create a gift certificate (or better yet several) good for a “Special day with Mom or Dad.” Explain to your child that the baby will stay home, and the two of you will go out to do anything she wants, whether it’s a trip to the zoo or an afternoon at the movies. It’s important to follow through on this one as soon as possible, as the first few weeks after the baby comes home can be the hardest on older siblings.
You can involve an older child in the world of babies by giving him a doll of his own to love and care for. Let your older child name the toy baby and choose a birth date for the doll. He can pretend to feed, diaper, clothe, and cuddle the doll while you do the same with your real baby.
“I’m a big sister or brother” t-shirt
Help your older child see how important and unique the “big” sibling role is with a special T-shirt that announces it to everyone she meets. Let your child pick a plain T-shirt and personalize it yourself with fabric paint or iron-on letters. Be sure to let your child help. If you’re a big sibling too, make craft time an opportunity to share your stories about what older kids can do that babies can’t (walk, talk, feed themselves, go to preschool) or ways that the older sibling can help take care of the baby. All of these things help big kids feel just as special as the new baby.
Special big brother or sister party
If lots of people are coming over to see the new baby, it’s easy for an older child to get lost in the shuffle. Change that by hosting a big brother or big sister party. You don’t need much – just a cake that says something like “Congratulations to the New Big Brother,” a few small gifts (books or toys are great), and the whole family making a fuss over the “big” kid.
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