One of the sweetest moments in a parent’s life is being able to share the big news with their child that a new baby will soon be joining the family! The titles of “Big Brother” and “Big Sister” can feel like they hold as much weight to our little ones as the titles of “Prince” and “Princess” do in their favorite fairytale. So how can we help our newly “crowned” babies prepare for a new baby? Here are a few of my favorite tried-and-true ideas!
A Nursery Masterpiece
Encourage your child to create a special piece of artwork specifically for the baby’s room. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy – even a few brushstrokes can create an abstract work of art! Grab some cardstock, kid-friendly paints, and brushes (fingers work too!) and allow them to get busy!
Once their painting has dried, place it in a matted picture frame and hang it up in baby’s room (don’t forget to have them “sign” and date it! Trust me – you won’t want to part with this!). Every time big brother or sister steps in baby’s room, he or she will beam with pride at their creation! Once baby arrives, you can even hang a sweet sibling photo next to it.
Parent Tip: Don’t hesitate to take control of the variables such as selecting specific paint colors, paper, and a picture frame that will complement the baby’s room!
A Big Sibling Photo Album
Give big brother or sister their very own photo album to commemorate baby’s arrival. You can find lots of adorable “Big Brother” and “Big Sister” photo albums online; however, feel free to make your own too! Print off pictures for your child to arrange and fill their album so they can show off photos of their newest sibling to friends and family.
Parent Tip: Find a kid-friendly camera for your child to use to take photos of baby! The Vtech KidiZoom Camera is a favorite of ours!
A Baby-themed Scavenger Hunt
Hide various baby items around the home for big brother or sister to find: bottles, pacifiers, diapers, onesies, blankets! Not only will your child quickly become accustomed to all of baby’s necessities but, let’s be honest, we’ve all been there when we need that extra set of hands (and eyes!) to help us locate something! Big brother or sister to the rescue!
Parent Tip: For preschool or early elementary-aged kids, include a sticky note with the name of the item written next to it to help them recognize the word’s spelling.
Sibling Story Time
Add one baby-friendly board book to your nightly bedtime story routine. Before you know it, big brother or sister will have a new skill to share with baby! Picture books or first word books work great for toddlers, while older siblings may engage in more advanced board books. Even if they need to add their twist to it, the beauty is that baby will never know the difference! Siblings can take turns reading stories to baby once he or she arrives!
Parent Tip: There are oodles of fantastic board books out there! A few of our favorite easy-to-read (or memorize!) titles include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Peek-a Who!
Put those little imaginations to work and create a baby-themed boutique! Big brother or sister can take turns selling baby essentials such as clothes, diapers, wipes, blankets, baby books, anything baby-related they can find!
Parent Tip: Role-play being the customer and give your child different scenarios such as “I’m shopping for a baby who needs a soft toy to play with…” or “What would you recommend for a baby who has a hard time falling asleep?” You’ll be helping your little “sales associate” prepare for baby’s needs while creating a fun play scenario at the same time!
The ever-popular Big Brother and Big Sister shirts are a must-have! Tuck the shirt into your child’s dresser drawer or closet a few weeks before baby’s arrival and when they pull it out, let them know they have to wait until baby’s here to wear it! It creates excitement, and every time they see it, they’ll be reminded of baby and the big role they will play!
Parent Tip: Be sure to search Etsy or local small businesses for coordinating shirts that both Big Sibling and baby can wear together – makes for a perfect photo op!
Start preparing “busy bins” for each child containing quiet activities that can easily be pulled out during baby’s feeding sessions. You can fill it with coloring pages, washable crayons, Boogie Boards, puzzles, books, and more!
Parent Tip: The more supplies you have ahead of time, the more frequently you can swap out items as needed during those first few weeks of baby’s feedings to keep your little ones entertained!
Other Helpful Resources
There are so many great “Big Brother/Sister” books that can be found in stores or your local library. I Am a Big Brother! written by Caroline Jayne Church, is perfect for little ones with the sweetest of illustrations!
For toddlers, be sure to check out PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. They feature a fun episode that focuses on the preparation and arrival of Daniel’s baby sister!
Remember, moms and dads, no matter how much you prepare your little ones, there are bound to be good days and not-so-good days when it comes to adding a new baby to the family. A simple “Thank you for being the world’s best brother!” or “Your baby sister is so lucky to have you!” combined with the biggest of hugs can make all the difference!