While friends and family pour their love and affection over the new baby you’ve brought home from the hospital, your older child is wondering what’s so great about the sleeping stranger who doesn’t say much.
Even though bringing home a new bundle of joy is labor intensive and time consuming, it’s important to take the time to make your other child or children feel special, too. Here are some ways to include big brothers and sisters.
1. Let them help prepare for baby
When you feel it’s an appropriate time to let your little one know they will soon be welcoming a new sibling, explain that you will need their help to get ready for the baby. Let them have a say in choosing some decorative items for the nursery, an outfit or two and a few special toys that will be just from them.
2. Get the new sibling a special gift
Friends, family and well-wishers will be bringing the new baby lots of toys and goodies before and after he or she arrives. Make sure you choose a special gift for your older child that not only makes them feel special, but also commemorates the occasion. This could be anything from a small toy or a t-shirt that lets everyone know they are now a big brother or sister.
3. Allow them to help soothe or entertain the baby
While your older child might not be able to help you change or rock the baby, they can be a part of the process. Not only are they great gofers when you need a diaper or a burp cloth from the other room, but they are also great at entertaining babies during tummy time or singing them silly songs to soothe their crying. This will help the siblings bond and give you an opportunity to run to the bathroom, or warm up last night’s leftovers (who has time to cook with a new baby).
4. Spend one-on-one time with your older child
You might not be able to take the new big brother or sister out for pizza and a movie, but spending time with them away from the baby will reassure them that they haven’t lost their place in your heart. This quality time could be anything from reading them a bedtime story to building a block tower. Make sure this one-on-one time also includes lots of praise from you about how well they are handling the changes a new baby brings.