Hey Big Siblings!

Resource 1: Navigating the Transition to Being a Big Sibling with Love and Readiness

The journey to becoming a big sibling is filled with novelty, excitement, and, frequently, some challenges. Alongside the joy, it's common to encounter increased clinginess, occasional behavioral acting out, and heightened emotions. Explore the tips below for a mix of practical and fun approaches to make this transition smoother!

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Prepare your child for the new arrival

It’s so important to chat with your child about the upcoming arrival of the new baby — no matter how young or old your kiddo is. Read books to help explain what it means to be a big brother or sister and involve your child in preparations, like picking out clothes or decorating the nursery. Try language like: “We will always love you so much, and we'll still have our special times together. We're a team, and you are going to get to teach your little sibling lots of new things!”

Prepare your child for your absence (if you’re having a hospital birth)

If you’re going to be away from your child to give birth, it is important to give them simply yet reassuring language to help them understand what to expect. Explain both where you will be and who will be responsible for taking care of them while you are away. Be sure to remind them that when you come home, you’ll have a little baby in tow!

Maintain Routines

Stick to your child's usual routines as much as possible. This can provide a sense of stability during a time of change. Chat in advance with whoever will be staying with your child while you give birth so that the caregiver can stick to the same routines and structure while you are away.

Give them special responsibilities

Assign special tasks to your older child that involve taking care of the baby in simple ways, like handing you diapers or helping with bath time. This helps them feel important and included in the process.

Set aside special one-on-one time

Check out our resource on Special Time below to see how just 5-15 minutes a day of child-directed play can help your child adjust to being a sibling and feel connected with you!

Be patient and understanding

No matter how much prep you do, understand that your child will likely still experience a range of emotions, including jealousy and frustration. Be patient, validate their feelings, and offer reassurance. Remind them that there is enough love for everyone and that they are still important, but don’t minimize their experience. It is important that they feel seen and understood as they make sense of a huge transition in their short lives. Create an open environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their feelings and asking questions about the new baby.

Model Positive Behavior

If your other child is young, you’ll probably be saying “gentle hands” to them a lot! Make sure to show them what that means by demonstrate gentle and caring behavior towards the new baby. This sets an example for your older child on how to interact with their new sibling.

Celebrate Milestones

Acknowledge and celebrate your older child's transition to being a sibling as well as their individual achievements and milestones. This helps them feel proud and valued. Check out one of our sibling boxes for a special gift for the big sibling!

5 Fun Strategies

1. Throw a Big Sibling Party

Celebrate the upcoming arrival of the new baby with a party just for the older sibling. Have fun decorations, games, and maybe even a small gift for them. (Did we mention our sibling boxes?)

2. Create a Sibling Countdown

Make a colorful countdown calendar together, marking off the days until the baby arrives. Each day can have a little surprise or activity to make the waiting more fun.

3. Storytelling Adventures

Invent imaginative stories about the new baby's adventures and involve your older child in creating the narratives. This can make the idea of a new sibling seem more like a magical journey.

4. Toy Exchange

Allow your older child to pick out a special toy or stuffed animal to "give" to the new baby. This creates a sense of sharing and generosity.  You can also give your older child a gift from the new baby too!

5. Role-Playing Games

Engage in role-playing games where your child can play the role of the caring and responsible older sibling. This can be a fun way to introduce them to the concept of caregiving.

Resource 2: Nurturing bonds with special play time