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 of 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.

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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 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 are able to 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. 

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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 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?

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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 are able to 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 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

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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Instagram post 18074272528164523 @debiandbebi wrote these words when she was a new mom and struggled with #postpartumdepression. She hopes to remind everyone that it is okay to struggle with being a new mom and that does not mean you don't love your baby. ❤️⁠
(quote by @debiandbebi)⁠
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Instagram post 17862171103601373 All of these things make me happy. What would you add to your self care toolbox?⁠
I'm seriously needing some of these things tonight to start a new week. Hoping you mamas get some self care time too! 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17853200368708392 SURPRISE! A little shocked, a little tired, and a LOT BLESSED. Congrats, @sarah_lit! ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17864808397574241 Pregnant and hungry all the time? Here are some great ideas to keep in the fridge when the hunger pains kick in! 🤰👍⁠
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Instagram post 18073051357163780 When it comes to clamping the cord, our mottos is "what's the rush?" The blood volume in the placenta and cord at the time of birth is BABY'S blood. It's simply mid-circulation in the placenta at the time of birth. It just makes sense to leave it be and let it finish its job.⁠
No, the blood won't drain out of baby and go backwards into the placenta.⁠
No, your baby is not more likely to get sick from jaundice.⁠
Yes, your baby will still be getting oxygen while they figure out breathing, especially important if they need resuscitation.⁠
Yes, your baby will have better iron levels for the first year of their life.⁠
Look at how thick and engorged this cord still is at 4 and 18 minutes after baby was born. Just imagine how much blood baby would have lost if the cord had been clamped immediately, or at 60 seconds, 90 seconds, or 3 minutes! The placenta was expelled immediately before the 18 minute photo was taken. The pulse in the cord could still be felt even AFTER THE PLACENTA HAD BEEN DELIVERED! The cord was finally clamped and cut more than an hour after birth at 73 minutes. ❤️⁠
📷: @lawrenrosephotography⁠
Informative post and words by @bundleborn⁠
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Instagram post 17852665306696124 With the holiday season upon us and moms trying to make everything magical for their families, remember to stop and take a moment to take care of you. ❤️ Have a hot cup of coffee, a long warm shower and some alone time. Communicate this with your partner not as a wish but as a necessity. We must take the time to take care of ourselves to better take care of them. 💕⁠
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Instagram post 18095239591099259 After holiday feasting . . . this baby gets me.⁠ 🤣
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Instagram post 17844162355818683 I think I had a little too much turkey . . . and pie. 😬🍗🥧 #leggingsforlife⁠
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Instagram post 17990835490280335 I totally felt this way when I was pregnant. And kinda feel this way after all that turkey. 🤣🦃 Happy turkey day to all you expecting mamas!!⁠
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Instagram post 18094211479105476 I spy with my little eye the cutest turkey ever. 😍 Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Hope it's filled with love, laughter, and cuteness like this. ❤️⁠
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Instagram post 17852562805720320 Loneliness is a real thing in new motherhood and I want to be sure we talk about this. It's okay to say, "I feel lonely." We normalize one another's experiences when we share the reality of our journey. It can be so isolating when we bring our small human home and our lives revolve around his/her care. We feel detached from the outside world. The monotony of new motherhood can be heavy.⁠
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Here are some tips to combat isolation:⁠
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1️⃣ Get outside when possible.⁠
2️⃣ Video chat with friends/family.⁠
3️⃣ Join a virtual group.⁠
4️⃣ Invite someone to come over.⁠
5️⃣ Find a local mom's group.⁠
6️⃣ Listen to the radio or a podcast (it's interesting how this can make us feel connected with others)⁠
7️⃣ Run an errand--even grabbing a coffee via drive-thru can feel good.⁠
8️⃣ Get to know your neighbors.⁠
What would you add to the list?⁠
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Repost: words and 📷 by @psychedmommy⁠
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Instagram post 17867282176536875 ⁠For the week of Thanksgiving (and longer if you can!) let's focus on what we DO have instead of what we lack. The more we express gratitude and appreciate our blessings the more we recognize all of our blessings and everything we should be thankful for. 💕⁠
📷: @hallmark⁠
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Instagram post 17855722339639264 ✈️ Tips to Survive a Plane Ride with Kids ✈️⁠
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Flying on a plane with your little one for the first time can be terrifying. Are they going to cry the whole time? How will they handle the airport, the turbulence and the landing? Well we have some tips that will help prepare you for your flight with your kids. Here's what to do to have a more enjoyable experience 😊 {Link in bio!}⁠
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