Many parents and relatives get gifts for older siblings when the new baby is born. Sometimes newborns “give” the gifts themselves! This pregnancy has been so different from my first and one of the biggest reasons has been my son. I’m so much more focused on him, I’ve hardly thought about my daughter who’s about to arrive. I already posted about spending extra time with my toddler in these last few weeks. He’s still more clingy than usual and has been sitting in my ever-shrinking lap whenever he can. I’m sure he knows a big change is coming and I’ve tried to do a few things to prepare him… and myself!
First up, I have a few fun gift ideas for the new big brothers and sisters. Below that is a list of advice and ideas I’ve heard in preparing my little one for the new little one. And pretty please: Share your wisdom in the comments section!
1. Rumparooz Doll Diapers These are a classic big sibling gift for families who cloth diaper. Made by Rumparooz, they match the baby-sized diaper colors and prints. I got one for my son’s Teddy. They are a cute idea for kids who would be interested in diapering and caring for their doll or stuffed animal when baby is being cared for.
2. Boba Mini Doll Carrier Here’s another favorite for children who like to carry their dolls just like Mommy. The Boba Mini comes in the same prints as the full sized carrier. (And don’t forget about entering the Boba Giveaway for a 3G in Tweet!)
3. Anamalz We recently stocked these fun wooden animal figures. They have a line of dinosaurs, wild animals and farm animals and are made from sustainable materials. My son adores animals, so these are high on our list!
4. Rubbabu Bowling Set Bowling sounds too noisy for a house with a new baby, right? This set is made of natural rubber for a quieter game. Since they are rubber, they are also soft and safer for kids of all ages. Rubbabu also makes balls, shape sorters, vehicles and other toys that are great for toddlers.
5. Hape Toys Alphabet Puzzle and Animal Memory Game These two puzzle games by Hape offer quiet fun for toddlers and older children. We’ve had the alphabet puzzle for a while and my 2.5 year-old can do it by himself, but he likes interacting with someone else to name the letters and their sounds. I got him the animal memory game “from” his little sister and I think he will be highly interested in it. Of course, Hape has lots of other wooden toys and puzzles–and at great prices!
6. Skip Hop Plates Apparently, kids go through a picky eater phase. My son has recently started his and has limited his menu to about 5 items. Fun plates like these can make different foods a bit more appealing and will also give children a sense of specialness by having a plate that’s just for them. They also make matching bowls and backpacks and lunchboxes for your big kid.
Here’s what I’ve gotten for my son’s gift:
Last summer I spent six weeks helping my sister-in-law who had her second baby. So I have a few ideas about the logistics of adding a new baby to the house. I’ve also combed the blogosphere to read stories and get ideas. Here are just a few things I’ve done and plan to do for my son:
1. Talk about baby and encourage your child to show love to your growing belly. I think it’s really important to teach small toddlers to be gentle. Once I started showing, I told my son about how there was a baby inside and taught him to say “I love you, sister” and kiss my growing bump. Not only it is really sweet, but it gives him the idea that he needs to be loving and careful around the baby.
2. Try reading books about big brothers and sisters. My niece really went for this, but my son wasn’t really into the Big Brother books we got him. Perhaps he will be more interested once she arrives, but we have them available and don’t push it if he says he wants to read something else. (There’s also a nice book called My New Baby that shows illustrations of breastfeeding babies.)
3. Plan to have friends and relatives around who can help care for the older kids while you rest and bond with your newborn. This is so important for your sanity! Even if it’s just scheduling a play date for a few hours, having your older child occupied by someone else can relieve the stress of caring for two (or more) until you get back on your feet. We don’t have any family living in the state, but my mom was able to come stay with us for a few weeks and it’s already been such a help!
4. When your child meets the baby for the first time, don’t hold the baby initially. Allow someone else to hold the newborn while your arms are free to embrace your child. Once you’ve given lots of hugs and kisses, then introduce the new brother or sister.
5. Make busy boxes with an assortment of novel activities that can keep your older one occupied when you need a minute to focus on the newborn. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate! Just toss in a few random toys, stickers, books and other items of high interest to your child. You can pull these out if you’re in need of a little break to change a diaper, nurse or go to the bathroom. Sometimes just the excitement of finding something new in a box can buy you five minutes!
I’m officially on any-day-now watch and I’ve got people texting and calling to see if I’ve had the baby yet. (This website made me laugh: http://haveyouhadthatbabyyet.com/)
Hopefully I’ll have a birth story to share with you all next week! And I’d love to hear your thoughts and advice in the comments below.