Are you expecting any new editions to your family this year? A child’s birth is an exciting and joyful time for the whole family. However, the transition can be overwhelming if the new baby will make someone else an older sibling for the first time. Children accustomed to being the only kid around the house can have difficulty adjusting to a new baby.
Let’s look at ways to help the new older sibling ease into their new role.
If the older siblings are young themselves, they may be confused about what it will look like to have a baby in the house. At that age, kids often understand complex topics as they relate to themselves or someone they know. If you have any videos or pictures of your older child when they were a newborn, consider showing them; it will help the older siblings understand what having a new baby in the house could be like and give them a chance to bond with the family over watching the videos.
Personalized Toys and Items
When a new baby comes into a home, older siblings can sometimes become protective of their items. They already have to share their parents’ attention with the new baby, and now they have to share toys or (in time, even) a room with them? You can encourage the older sibling by having a few of their items personalized to help build their sense of identity. Teaching sharing will also be necessary, but there’s nothing wrong with children understanding that some items can be uniquely theirs.
Gifts For the New Baby
Family and friends might be excited about bringing gifts for the new baby. Although the second (or third or beyond) child usually receives fewer gifts than the first child, there’s a strong chance that the family will still want to gift some new items for the new baby; this may cause jealousy in the older sibling. To combat any feelings of envy, involve the older sibling in picking out a few gifts that they can pick out for their new sibling.
Similarly, sibling gifts are another way to involve the older sibling. Encourage grandparents or other family members to include a sibling gift and the new baby’s gift so the older sibling feels excited about being the oldest. These gifts could be a personalized item that says “older brother/sister,” a toy that the sibling will be able to use to play with the new baby, or even just an age-appropriate individual toy that can keep them occupied while the parents are taking care of the new baby.
Talk Through the Big Day
The day the baby comes is a big day for everyone. Parents should explain what will happen and what the older sibling can expect (at an age-appropriate level). Will the sibling stay at a friend or relative’s house until the baby is born? Will they be at the hospital some of the time? Parents should talk through the day as much as possible to emphasize that although it may be stressful, it will be an exciting outcome.
Things To Look Forward To
Let’s face it: the first few weeks (or even months!) with the new baby can be hectic. Even with the work parents have done to prepare the house and the older siblings, the nature of infants is chaotic. To ease the transition, consider planning something for the older sibling to look forward to after the baby arrives; this could be a planned weekend with their grandparents, going to a fun event, or starting a new activity. When the times get tough, you can remind the older sibling of the fun times ahead, giving them something to look forward to.
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Check out our online store for our other products, and let us know if you have any ideas or questions!