Becoming an older sibling can be a huge transition for toddlers. To make the process a bit easier, you can start preparing before the new baby is even born. I’m sharing 5 of the ways we helped prepare our little boy to be a new big sibling before his sister was born. If your baby is already here be sure to check out these tips to help your toddler adjust after the new baby is already here. This post contains affiliate links.
Photo credit: www.annaangenend.com – this post has affiliate links
When Little Man was 21 months old he became a big brother. Since he was so young when our daughter was born, we did as much as we could to prepare him before she was born. It was so neat to watch his comprehension of what was going on increase as we did what we could to get him ready to be a big brother. Today, I’m sharing the top 5 things that we did to prepare him before the baby was born.
1. Practice with a Baby Doll – When I was around 4 months pregnant I bought Little Man a baby doll. I realized that he needed to learn words like “soft” and “gentle” before she was born and we decided a baby doll would be a great way to practice. We purchased a $10 doll from target. He never played with her a whole lot, but it was really useful for him to learn how to be calm and gentle with one of his toys. We made a big deal about not throwing the doll and never being rough around her. It was a really great tool for his level of understanding at the time (he was about 15 months old).
2. Read Books about the Transition – This is one of the absolute best ways to prepare a toddler for what’s to come. We used several different books, so he was seeing and hearing about the transition from multiple angles. He loved the stories about the new baby and still enjoys them to this day! Some other books we enjoyed were: The New baby, Arthur and the Baby: A Classic Arthur Adventure I’m a Big Brother Our absolute favorite book was Hello Baby! by Lizzy Rockwell, which you can get on amazon for $7. I ended up writing a full review of the book, detailing why we loved it so much! Little Man finally understood that there was a baby in my belly after reading Hello Baby.
3. Sleepovers – I have my babies in the hospital, so there is always at least one overnight stay if not two. We did a “practice” sleep over with him at his grandparent’s house, so that his first time wouldn’t be when I was in the hospital. He did great and loved sleeping at their house. It was good to get him used to waking up and going to bed with them instead of only mommy. He loved every minute of it and it really helped put my mind at ease, knowing how well he would do sleeping away from home while I was in the hospital with the baby.
4. The Special Box – I prepared a little box of gifts for Little Man and hid it in my closet for my MIL to give to him while I was in the hospital. Little things to let him know that I loved him and to help his grandma entertain him in case he was having a hard day! The box included two things. The first item in box was the I’m a Big Brother book, which is a wonderful book about bringing the baby home from the hospital written from the new sibling’s perspective (they also have a version of the book for big sisters). The second thing in the box was his special build a bear that we made a few weeks prior to her birth. I hid the bear after we made it together so he had no idea that we brought it home until he opened the box! This was a great way to make the day special for him as well, since he was too young to comprehend what an important day it was for our family.
5. Build a Bear – This is one of my favorite things that we did for Little Man! A few weeks before baby was due, I took him to the mall to the Build a Bear company. We made a stuffed dog together and I was able to insert a recording of my own voice saying “Elias I love you” into the dog’s paw. This way he could hear my voice and know how much I love him even when I was in the hospital and not at home with him. My MIL said he pushed the button non-stop for a long time, with a huge grin on his face. Little Man still sleeps with his little stuffed dog and I often hear him pushing the button as he falls asleep at night. It cost $8 for the recording and $10 for the dog, so it was pretty affordable for the amount of love the little animal gets! It was the perfect keepsake for our little man, and seemed to provide lots of comfort for him, when he wasn’t understanding why mommy couldn’t be home with him.
These are the 5 main things we did to prepare our son for his sister before she was born. I have also shared 8 ways to help your toddler adjust to the new baby (after the birth) in a previous post. It’s a huge transition for every one involved, but it’s an exciting journey all the same!
This is the CUTEST activity to do with the big sibling to be!!! Download this free interview to do with the new big sibling. There’s one for new big brothers and one for new big sisters. It’s a fun activity and turns into an adorable keepsake. (Or see more about the big sibling interview here)
Lastly, consider getting a fun gift for the big sibling to show off how excited they are for the new baby to come. You can get one of these fun coloring shirts they can decorate themselves!
There’s one coloring shirt for big bro and one coloring shirt for big sis. They can color the shirts with washable markers to design them again and again OR use permanent markers to keep their original design forever! Kids LOVE decorating their own shirts and these are too cute!!!
These shirts are perfect for helping your older child announce your pregnancy too! They can do it in style with an adorable shirt they have designed themselves!
See more ideas about how to announce your pregnancy here…
Do you have any tips for preparing a young child to be a sibling? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
See more of our favorite tools to help with the trasition here:
Click the image below to read some fun gift ideas for the new big sibling on the day the baby is born!
For even MORE tips about preparing your toddler to be a new sibling, and helping them transition once the baby arrives, check out my book on the topic! I know that every one is busy, so it’s a quick read that can be read in small snippets while the toddler is sleeping or while you feed the baby! Check out the book by clicking the image below.