Bringing Home Baby #2

bigsibling.jpgOr 2, 3, and 4 as was the case for Heather:

"Adjusting to a new baby at home is often difficult for older siblings, especially children under 5 who are used to having lots of attention from mom and dad. One of my greatest worries when I was pregnant for the second time was how our 3½-year-old daughter would feel with the arrival of 3 new siblings at the same time. The world she knew would be forever changed. Here are some tips that we found eased the transition and reinforced our love:

  • Big sister gift from the new siblings. Our trio 'gave' their big sister a monogrammed necklace - which she still proudly wears - on her first visit to see them in the hospital.

  • Big sister t-shirt. Display how important and unique the big sibling role is with a special t-shirt that announces it to everyone she meets. There are lots of “I’m a Big Sister” (or Brother) t-shirts on the market, or making your own with a blank t-shirt and fabric paint is also a fun activity. If your child likes art projects, involve them in the process.

  • Keep routines where possible. Bedtime routine has always been my daughter and my special time. The new baby won't notice who puts them to bed but the older sibling will.

  • One-on-one time. Take advantage of the new baby’s nap time to share some quality time with the older sibling. Bake cookies, do arts and crafts projects, run errands, or make a quick trip to the library with the older sibling.

  • Include him/her in caring for younger siblings. Older siblings love to help with feedings, bathing, playing, and teaching their baby brother/sister (of course my oldest leaves the diapering to us!). We always stress that caretaking is optional.

  • Big sister/brother books. Reading is a great way to initiate discussion about what it means to be a big sibling. We laughed and giggled our way through How To Be A Baby. I'm a Big Sister and I'm a Big Brother are also top picks.

  • Family pictures. I picked up a little photo brag book and let Emma fill it with pictures of her new family. She didn't leave the house without it for months and proudly showed anyone who asked.

  • Most importantly, constantly remind him/her how loved and important they are."