Making the decision to add to your family is a big one! We didn't take it lightly but once the pregnancy was fully underway and I began to think about what I needed to do to help prepare Penny become an older sister.. Yikes! Least to say I went through stages of complete elation and utter overwhelm. That's why it's wonderful to rely on other mamas who have been there before me and listen to their wise words - so check out Laura from Bits of Sweetness and her awesome tips on aiding the transition of sibling addition :)
Hey guys! I'm Laura.
I blog over at Bits of Sweetness about being a mama to two awesome crazy energetic boys (6&1), wife to my as fun-sized-as me hubby(we're both under 5'5"!), and life in the PNW. I started getting more into blogging because honestly, the first baby book isn't even done yet so, here we go!
I am stoked to write a post for Bianca. She's a favorite local blogger and it's fun to share that and get new inspiration and ideas from her! I can't wait until her newest little bundle is here! Until then, I thought I'd entertain you sweet readers with a little post of my own.
The picture above is our oldest, Andrew, who happens to be six. He was so much fun (or: a challenging and creative handful ;-) ), we waited almost five years to have another one! When we found out we were expecting our second, so many conflicting thoughts were swirling around in my mind. I was incredibly excited, no doubt! But how would Andrew adjust to having a sibling?! Five years isn't long in big people years, but to these munchkins, that is like five hundred thousand episodes of Curious George and Super Why! Five years is kindof an eternity in kid speak to be the only one getting attention and running the show. Fast forward two years and another one on the way, and this time I am thankful for all the great tips and tricks we found to rock the whole sibling addition thing! I feel like maybe, just maybe we got this thing (Aside from all the sleepless nights and general chaos that accompanies a newborn!) Here are our favorites:
1. Involve them in the process (age-appropriately).
Because it was our second, we let Andrew break the "special news" to everyone. It made not only their day but his too! For months after that, he would tell anyone and everyone he could about his special news! We let him announce the gender with some colored balloons too. I took him along to a couple of the doctor appointments and let him hear the heartbeat. I found a great pregnancy app and he begged me daily to see how big the baby was. He giggled at seeing the comparison from sesame seed to grape to pear to watermelon! Also, books. Books are pretty amazing. God Gave us Two is our favorite for older kids with a sweet polar bear family. Hello Baby is a great one for toddlers and preschoolers.
2. Take them to pick out a gift for their new sibling. Andrew fell in love with this darling little elephant from Target and decided his brother must have it.
3. Get them a gift from the new little one! And, another idea is write a letter to go along with it!
Andrew was more than a little elated at getting this gift that combined his love of Hot Wheels and Trio blocks!
We actually saved the gift for after Adrian's arrival so that on one of the days when Andrew had just had enough, he could have something fun and exciting and special from the baby. It totally worked too!
4. Don't worry about packing as much time with them in as you can. Yes, I said "don't." The reason? You won't be able to do that after the baby comes so why shoot yourself in the foot now? We did do some extra special things with him but didn't go overboard because we knew he would have an even harder time adjusting. You'll want to save some of those special times for after too when they are needing an extra dose of loving!
5. Don't underestimate the power of your excitement! They are SUCH little sponges! We would tell Andrew, "You are going to love being a big brother!" and "Adrian already loves you so much! He can't wait to meet you!" We never talked to Andrew about him getting less attention or how it might be hard to have a little sibling around now. He hadn't thought of those things yet, so why give him those ideas?! We didn't go overboard either with expecting him to absolutely love all the newborn crying and changes that inevitably come, but we simply took his cues and gave him lots of extra love and breaks when he needed them instead. He still has yet to say anything about wishing he didn't have a brother or not liking having Adrian around. There are sure moments they don't get along, but for the most part, they sure love each other! I didn't get this idea done last time, but this adorable "big sibling kit" from Ducks in a Row is something I want to do this time!
6. Give yourself permission to do things low key and whatever you need to survive the first few months now that you have a big and little one (or more)! It's been said that the first three months are the fourth trimester because it takes the baby (and you!) about that long to adjust to life outside their cozy little world. I totally agree heading into it the third time around! Realize that it's ok to have the kinds of days where the older sibling's favorite shows are on all day(or their favorite movie on repeat!) and their diet consists of goldfish crackers and chicken nuggets. There will be days when they are wearing their pajamas. For the second day in a row. That's ok too! Their room might be a little messier than you like but the memories being made and time together is priceless!
7. Practice with a baby doll and use it as a chance to talk about the baby! Even older kids get this one, but it seems to be even more fun for little ones. This idea has been a fantastic one with our 17-month old! He just adores babies and is actually getting the hang of it. We're just working on not dragging the poor baby by its ears!
8. Kids love to help, so let them! One of Andrew's fondest memories is being able to soothe newborn Adrian by putting his finger in his mouth as a pacifier. It calmed Adrian down in an instant. The germ nut side of me was freaked out a little at where in the world he had had those fingers but immunity rocks ;-) And, you can't put a price tag on sweet memories. It's surprising what kids will love doing, but there are so many ways to make them feel important. Don't forget to tell them thank you! It makes their day, even if it's just bringing you things to change them. Also? Brag on them! Everyone could use a little praise but it sure seems to work wonders with kids.
I am so excited for you Bianca!! Penny is going to be an amazing big sister! Thank you so much for letting me guest post! And thank you readers for tagging along today! And turning around and asking- what tips do you have for going from two to three?! We are now outnumbered!! Should be some fun times for sure!