When I was still pregnant, I wasn’t terribly concerned with how Aliya would adjust to being a big sister. I knew she loved babies — sometimes she would go up to the random baby at the park and try to give them hugs and kisses (this was before we had a discussion with her about boundaries), and everyone would look at me and say, “She needs a sibling!” and I would just respond with death stares.
And so when we brought baby home, I was more concerned with her trying to smother her brother. And true to form, she would bring him stuffed animals, cover him with a blanket, sing him songs, tell him stories, cover him with stickers, and pat him when he started crying. It is heartwarming to watch, but more often than not, we have to remind her to give her brother space.
We did a couple of things to prepare her for becoming a big sister:
- Read a Big Sister (or Big Brother) Book – A friend of mine bought her this book by Joanna Cole about becoming a Big Sister:
Her smile indicates she has absolutely no idea what is about to happen.
We read this book to her so many times, she knows the text word for word and can read it to us, and she recalls things from the book when we tell her how to behave around the baby. She also takes a lot of pride in being a big sister, and being able to help us with the baby. I highly recommend this book!
- Big Sister Gift(s) – We thought it might be nice to get Aliya a little something “from her brother” to get her excited about becoming a big sister. Doc McStuffins is one of her favorite television shows, and so I purchased some small character figurines for her. Thoughtful friends of ours also brought over “Big Sister” gifts along with gifts for the baby:
- One-on-one Time – While I never had a doubt she would be a great big sis, I wasn’t quite sure how she would adjust to not being the only kid in the house. As excited as I was to be adding our little boy to the family, I was grieving the end of our alone time with our first-born. I am grateful Toddler Checkers is independent, but I die a little inside every time I have to tell her I cannot do something because I need to feed the baby, or when I hear her playing by herself in her playroom. We try to get our alone time with her when we run errands (we divide and conquer), and a couple times we have intentionally planned dates with her, which I hope to do more of in the future: