I admit I was a little anxious how our son would react to seeing his little brother for the first time. Adding a sibling to the family is a huge transition, especially for a first child used to having all the attention.
The first visit to the “host-i-ble” (hospital), our two-year-old was reserved. He ran in, but got quiet and still when he saw the baby. We didn’t have him hold the baby the first day, because he didn’t seem interested and I didn’t want to press him into doing anything that made him feel nervous. He was curious, of course, but I could tell he was seeking something “normal” in the situation. He flitted about the hospital room, examining this and that, wanting to drink my juice, and somewhat ignoring the fact that he had a brother.
However, his tender-heartedness won out – when he left with my mom, he called back over his shoulder, “I love you, baby brother!”
He carefully corrected my mom when she referred to “baby brother,” saying, “No, Nonna, it’s ____ ____,” informing her of the baby’s FULL name! He generally uses the baby’s first and middle name! It’s really cute!
The second day he visited, he climbed onto the bed with me, and held his brother with me for a few minutes, before declaring, “I can’t hold him!” This time he was more interested to see what baby brother was doing. He asked a lot of questions about did baby have hands? feet? could baby talk? walk? I think letting him warm up to baby brother on his own time schedule was beneficial.
Another way we tried to assist a positive transition was having sibling gifts for and from both boys. Our son “wrapped” a few baby toys and pacifiers in tissue paper and put them in a gift bag to bring to the hospital. I could tell he was proud to be making something for his little brother.
I looked online for sibling gifts for our toddler before the baby came. Most that I saw either had cheap toys or sugary snacks. (I’d love to know if there are better pre-made options?). So I decided to make my own “Big Brother” gift from his little bro – both to save money and customize the gift! Here’s my suggestions for a great sibling gift package:
- A unique and useful container makes the gift even more fun, and there’s no waste! I found this dump truck on clearance, and filled it with fun items for our son.
- Add healthy snacks – these never lose their fascination for children, and whoever is caring for your older ones while you’re in the hospital will appreciate having some fun [parent-approved] treats to give the kids. We made good use of our Earth’s Best organic toddler snacks. The Pop Snax are full of vitamins and minerals, and come in two fun flavors (veggie and sweet potato!) – they have always been a favorite of my son’s (he calls them POPS!). Earth’s Best Fruit Yogurt Smoothies (“pouchies”) are his all-time favorite treat because they are fun to hold and easy to eat. They have vitamins C, D, Calcium and add a little protein to the usual fruit-only pouch varieties on the market!
- Find creative toys to give your child – we put in a Lego set, squeezable bubbles, a sticker activity kit, a snack holder, and a plushie toy that matches the one he gave his brother!
Our son enjoyed the special attention and gifts that came along with becoming a big brother. I think it’s important to demonstrate he’s still got our love and attention even though we have a new little one on the scene!
Did you do sibling gifts or a transitional activity / event when you welcomed siblings into your family?
This post was written as part of the Earth’s Best Blogger program. I was provided product samples to facilitate this post, and may be eligible for additional blogger rewards. All opinions are 100% my own.