7 Tips to Prep your Little One for Siblinghood
Sibling preparation started early on during pregnancy. Once my husband, Andrew, and I were passed the 12 week mark and confirmed to have a girl, we took action on preparing Mia for sisterhood.
I have a sister myself and wouldn’t be who I am if she weren’t in my life. I love her to death and although we are 12 years apart, she is my bestest friend. I only hope for Mia and Avery to have the same (end even better) relationship:)
So between my own experience as a sister, and advice given to me from family and friends, here’s what we did to help with the transition of Mia being an only child to becoming a sibling:
Hand-me-down party. Mia and I had an afternoon where we listened to her favourite tunes and ate delicious snacks while going through her clothes to set some aside for Baby A (of course it only pertained to clothing that Mia couldn’t fit into anymore). This made for a first positive experience around “sharing” with her little sis.
Prepare and decorate baby’s room together. Mia was part of the process in decorating Baby A’s room – although she wanted it to be purple and I went ahead with my plan of having a dark forest green accent wall;) Mom design still trumps sibling design, for now lol.
Include the sibling in “baby care” practice. This means that before baby arrives, practice some of the things you will do with baby once he/she arrives – for example, changing diapers. I would ask Mia to help me practice changing a diaper on her bunny. She then became a pro and started changing diapers on the hour all by herself – this became too much because I had to then teach her not to waste diapers lol. Thankfully I redirected her efforts to other things and also had her use our cloth diapers instead of the disposable ones ;)
Prepare a gift plan. We told Mia that Baby A was going to bring her a special gift when she arrived and asked Mia what she wanted Baby A to bring her…she said chocolate haha. So we ran with that and got Mia excited about baby bringing her special chocolate. We then went to the mall and asked Mia to go on a hunt for a gift that she could give Baby A upon her arrival – she got her a purple stuffed bunny (the same kind she has in pink and uses as her comfort toy). It was cute that she ended up getting baby the same bunny that she has, and in her favourite colour! And when it was time for Mia to actually meet Baby A for the first time, Mia didn’t even ask about the gift, she was just so excited to meet this baby we had prepared her for over several months.
Purchase extra toys, gifts, arts & crafts to have on-hand as (1) back-up for when visitors come over with presents only for the baby or (2) activities to keep the sibling happy and entertained while you’re feeding or putting your attention towards baby. I went to the local Dollar Store and got things like stickers, brightly coloured construction paper and craft packages, toys, etc. In reality, Mia didn’t even care when people came over with a gift only for Baby A – when she was given a gift it was “nice to have” of course and she was always excited to play with her new gifts, but in cases where she wasn’t given a gift, she was more than happy to help open the gift for Baby A and move on to one of her own existing toys or activities.
Purchase books about sisters and read them almost every night leading up to the big delivery day. Finding books about sisters was actually harder than we thought and Andrew did quite a bit of digging to get some book options. Here are the ones we got, in addition to ones that are just about having a sibling (regardless of boy or girl):
“The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer
“Sisters” by David MacPhail
“Waiting for Baby” by Rachel Fuller
“My New Baby” by Rachel Fuller
Schedule dedicated time with each child. Mia has been an only child for just over 2.5 years, so we felt it was important for her to continue to have some dedicated time with mom, dad and both mom/dad. And of course the same goes for Baby A.
It helps that I take Mia to day care because that automatically gives me dedicated time with Baby A during the day. Additionally, it helps to have my in-laws and parents around to watch Baby A too when either Andrew or I plan to have dedicated time with Mia.
And family time naturally happens as we always ensure we both eat dinner and perform our bedtime routine together as a family – I actually can’t wait for Mia and Baby A to be able to have a bath together in the tub (melt my heart now please)!
Whoa, so there you have it! Have you used other strategies to make it a smooth transition for your family? If so, what were they? Sharing is caring folks:)
Until next time,