10 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Child to Become a Big Brother or Sister

10 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Child to Become a Big Brother or Sister | Baby Chick

10 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Child to Become a Big Brother or Sister

I’ve always felt a little sad for my youngest child when I’m about to have another baby. Being the youngest has always been their identity. When you think of that changing, it’s sad. But it doesn’t have to be! As a mother of four, I think the best gift you can give your child is a sibling! However, helping them adjust to becoming a big brother or sister can be hard. So here are some of my very favorite tips for helping the adjustment go as smoothly as possible!

During Pregnancy

1. Use intentional language regarding the sibling relationship (beforehand).

As a licensed marriage and family therapist, I think this is the most important thing you can do in every aspect of preparing a sibling for baby! In the months leading up to the birth of the baby (and after), talk about the baby through the relationship of the siblings instead of the relationship between mom and baby. This eliminates a need for competition over the mother and changes the focus to the importance of being a big sister or big brother.

For example, “Instead of saying, “Mommy is going to have a new baby.” Try saying, “You are going to have a little baby sister.” Or instead of saying, “Mommy is so excited for new baby to get here.” Try saying, “Your new brother is so excited to get here and have you hold him. He loves you so much.” This may seem like a small and insignificant change of wording, but I promise you, it makes a huge impact. It emphasizes the fun of the new sibling relationship versus the fact that the new baby is going to take up time with mom.

2. Read books that teach them about becoming a big brother or sister.

There are a plethora of books out there about becoming a big brother or sister. My top choice is “I’m a Big Brother” and “I’m a Big Sister” by Joanna Cole because you personalize the book to the sex of your child. And this book teaches them all they need to know about their big brother or sister roles form the perspective of the older sibling. A few other books to consider would be “My New Baby” by Rachel Fuller and “The New Baby” by Mercer Mayer.

Becoming a big brother or sister, Read them books

3. Talk it through — personalize to your experience with them as a baby.

As adults, we know it’s easier to lower anxiety during transitions when we have knowledge before an event occurs versus after. Who wants to go into a job interview but not know what the new job entails? Becoming a big sibling is kind of like that, too. The more detailed information you give them about babies, the more natural it will feel when the baby arrives. Saying little things like, “When your little brother gets here, we may have to change his diaper all of the time! Like all of the time. I remember there was one day where I changed your diaper 15 times.” This does two things. It helps prepare them and also reminds them that you did all of the same stuff with them, which helps them to not feel excluded. It normalizes the care babies require, the same care you gave them!

In the Hospital

1. Meet them in the hallway.

Instead of letting big sibling walk into the room and see mommy holding their new baby brother or sister, try meeting them in the hallway first (if you can get up and walk). That way they physically see they still have YOU, and that baby has not robbed them of you. Then walk them into the room and say, “Baby brother has been waiting to meet you all day!! He can’t wait for you to hold him.” If they are super possessive of you, let Dad be in charge of that first interaction and stand back. This again puts the focus on their relationship. 

2. Have other relatives not react to baby.

When sibling is first in the room, make sure no one else in the room is gawking over baby. Let the focus remain between big brother or sister and little one. If anything, let the emphasis be on the older sibling. Coach other relatives to comment on how loving the older sibling is, or how lucky the little sibling is to have them as their brother or sister. Again, eliminate the need for competition. And if they’re old enough, you can have them introduce the new baby to other relatives. “Grandma, this is Peyton.” This is a great way to empower them as a big sibling from the start.

3. Don’t set too many limits (at first).

This is so important and one of the things I feel sabotages many transitions from going smoothly. When the baby first arrives, try not to set too many limits for the bigger sibling. I think the best way to guarantee an older sibling will feel jealous is to suddenly feel the new baby is making them get into trouble. Of course, they have to know they cannot throw their new sibling across the room, but they also will feel better if you aren’t immediately correcting them about every little thing from the second they meet. Prep them about how to hold and touch a baby way before they are actually doing so. Steer clear of “Don’t touch the baby’s mouth,” and instead say things like, “Baby sister likes soft touches on her cheek or her head. Look at how happy she is when you touch her so sweetly.”

Preparing to become a big brother or sister, Avoid setting too many limits

4. Have new baby brother or sister get them a present.

This, of course, is pretty common — but if you haven’t heard of it, have the new baby have a present waiting in the hospital room for the older sibling. This is a simple and easy way to get things started off on the right foot! I mean, who wouldn’t love a sibling that brings you your favorite Lego Set or Barbie?

At Home

1. Make them your helper.

Once you arrive home, have new sibling be your helper. And make them feel so special to be old enough to do things their little sibling cannot do. “Wow, thank you for getting Mommy some water. You are so helpful and grown-up. I don’t know what Mommy would do without you! Little sister just lays here, but you can sit and talk with Mommy and that is so fun.

Becoming a big brother or sister, Make them your helper

2. Take time out with them once baby arrives.

Carve out time to be with just big sibling after baby comes. Take them somewhere for a few hours. Maybe to the park. Or a quick trip to the store. Or if you aren’t feeling up to getting out, do an activity with them. A puzzle, Legos, Barbies…even if the amount of time you can give them is short, if it is quality, it will make them feel connected to you and prioritized. And this will help the whole transition go more smoothly! 

3. Don’t overreact to meltdowns after baby’s arrival.

Most likely — even with the best-behaved children — they will begin having more meltdowns after the birth of a baby sibling. They won’t necessarily be acting out toward their sibling, but they will likely be showing more emotion towards you. When this happens, do not panic. Even if it lasts six weeks, do not panic! This is normal. This is normal. This is normal. And it will pass. No matter how much they love their sibling, it is a huge adjustment! And just like you are adjusting to sleep deprivation, they are adjusting as well. So give them grace, love, and extra reassurance (not discipline). And know they will return to normal soon. 

Becoming a big brother or sister, Prepare for meltdowns, Show them grace

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About the Author /

Quinn is a wife, boy mom (x’s 4), blogger at Sanctification and Spitup, host of the Renew You Podcast and licensed marriage and family therapist. She loves to encourage others in relationships through her speaking, writing or podcast episodes.

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5️⃣ Paternity leave! If you have it TAKE IT. The early stages of a child's life are not just for moms to enjoy. I know as men making the money especially after having a baby it's hard, but trust me. You can always make money but there are no instant replays in life. It doesn't make you more of a man to not take the leave. It's equally as important that you as a Dad get to be a part of the early development of your child. ⁠
If someone needs this info tag them ❤️⁠
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Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠ Potty Training Tips! A step-by-step guide 🚽⁠
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1️⃣ Look for signs of readiness:⁠
- Diaper dry for at least 1-2 hours.⁠
- Pulling at their diaper when its wet or soiled.⁠
- Hiding or fidgeting when going pee or poo in diaper.⁠
- Interest in others using the potty.⁠
- Waking up with a dry diaper after naps.⁠
- Telling you when they have gone pee or poo.⁠
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Potty training is much quicker if your child is showing the above signs, but you can start before this.⁠
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2️⃣ What you will need to buy:⁠
- Toilet seat insert to place on your toilet⁠
- Steps⁠
- Underwear (at least 10 pairs)⁠
- Foldable toilet seat (for when you are out of the house)⁠
- Piddle pad (for car journeys)⁠
- Waterproof shoes such as crocs, sliders, etc. (they can be rinsed and dried)⁠
- Not necessary but helpful: flushable wipes⁠
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3️⃣ Getting yourself and your child prepared:⁠
- Talk to your child about using the potty, maybe take them into the bathroom when you go and talk them through the process (e.g. wiping, flushing, and washing hands, etc.)⁠
- Practice pulling pants or shorts up and down.⁠
- Look on YouTube with your child at some potty training stories (e.g. 'I Want My Potty' and 'Pirate Pete's Potty')⁠
- Involve your child in choosing and buying everything you need - choosing character-themed underwear is usually very exciting!⁠
- Sit your child on the potty at every diaper change, first thing in the morning and just before bed to get them used to sitting on the toilet.⁠
- Teach your child the correct vocabulary or signs needed to communicate when they need to go potty.⁠
- Make sure you have plenty of spare clothes.⁠
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4️⃣ Let's get toilet trained:⁠
- Get your child to choose a pair of underwear and put them on.⁠
- Talk to them about using the toilet and communicating when they need to pee or poo. You can sit them on the toilet at this point if you wish.⁠
- Take your child to the toilet every 15/20 minutes. Say "let's go to the potty" rather than asking "do you want to go to the toilet" - if you ask, they are likely to say no! Also, look for signs like moving from side-to-side or hiding. These are normal signs that they might need to go potty.⁠
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(Continue reading in the comments!)