“Mommy when you are going to stop holding the baby?” We were 2 weeks in to welcoming the third baby to our family and it was starting to test our older kids patience! It’s not easy to give 3 kids your undivided attention, especially with a newborn in the house.
One morning especially, they started to notice. I wasn’t as available as I used to be. Breakfast took longer than usual. Mommy was tired.
Though we’ve had a few pouty moments, for the most part our big kids have fully embraced their new baby sibling.
Sure, there have been and will be moments when someone feels left out or upset I’m not spending as much time with them. That is inevitable.
BUT, I believe there are things we can do to prepare our kids for new siblings and to help them adjust smoothly to a new baby.
In this post I’m sharing 7 meaningful ways for siblings to bond with a new baby sibling.
This post contains affiliate links.
Before we get to it, I want to thank Tea Collection for sponsoring this post. We’ve been fans of Tea since our oldest was born. We love how they celebrate different cultures of the world through their design. Their clothing is globally inspired and this season it’s all about Southeast Asia. Check out the beautiful clothing!!
#1 Prepare The Kids
This is big! Before the baby is even born you can start to encourage sibling love. Our older kids enjoyed looking at the ultrasounds, snuggling my big belly and talking to the baby through my belly.
We talked about how excited we were to welcome a new baby into the family. They helped with the gender reveal, the nursery decorations and even her name. It was great to get them involved. They felt invested.
We also used books and even TV episodes to prepare. My kids love the Daniel Tiger new baby episodes. In addition, we read books about being a big sister/brother and welcoming a new baby.
#2 Show Them Photos of Themselves as Babies
I heard Mama Natural say this in one of her Youtube videos. She suggested showing the bigger kids photos of them at each stage of the baby’s development. So when the baby is 1 month old, show the older siblings their 1 month old photos.
Then you can show the older siblings, you held them all day long too. You fed them throughout the day and you loved on them constantly. It’s a great way to say “Hey this is what we do in our family. This is how we love babies and I did it with you too!”
They don’t remember how you treated them as a baby, but I think this little trick will help them adjust smoothly. And help them understand you love all the kids at each stage!
#3 Include Them in Feeding Time
Our daughter couldn’t wait to give her baby sister her first bottle. It was so adorable! Include your kids in feeding times. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, the big kids can help out.
Older siblings feel a sense of pride when they can help you with the baby.
#4 Encourage Them to Play or Read to the Baby
This came very naturally for our oldest daughter. She is constantly wanting to show her baby a new toy or read her a story. We “practiced” this before baby arrived with their baby dolls. We’d all change the baby dolls diaper, read to the baby, feed the baby, etc.
So when their new sibling come it was natural for them to want to be with her. They are constantly talking to her, singing patty-cake or kissing her face! So our biggest issue is making sure they gave the baby personal space. HA.
#5 Give Them Baby Jobs
Kids like structure and responsibility. So when we told our daughter she was in charge of making sure everyone washed their hands before holding the baby her face lit up. She loved having this “job” and she took it very seriously.
Other jobs include: choosing the baby’s outfit, throwing away the diapers, choosing which books to read to the baby, singing to the baby before bedtime, helping out with bath time and the list could go on.
This is a great way to get the bigger kids involved and encourage bonding between the siblings.
#6 Spend One on One Time With the Big Kids
This isn’t directly related to sibling bonding, but it can make a huge impact. The moment my son asked when I was going to stop holding the baby I knew what he meant was “when are you going to pay attention to me?” So that night I made sure to spend some quality one on one time with just him.
We read his favorite book, had a dinosaur battle and I tucked him in at night. The last thing I want is for him to start resenting the baby because she takes away his mommy time. It’s not always easy to balance everything, but with a little intention you can set aside special time for each child.
#7 Wear Matching Outfits & Take Photos
Our kids are obsessed with pandas so when we saw the panda print from Tea Collection we knew we needed to have it. The girls were so excited to match each other. This is a simple way to encourage bonding between siblings.
Find ways for them to coordinate outfits or match each other. Our kids talked about it all day long!
Along with this give them a “job” of taking photos of their new baby. I gave each our kids a turn to take photos on my phone and they had a ball. It’s a simple activity big kids and little babies can do together.
Now I’d love to hear from you!
How did you encourage your older kids to engage with the new baby? Share your experience in the comments below!
Thank you Tea Collection for providing the adorable outfits for this post.