So it happened. It took a full 32 weeks but it finally happened. My six year old daughter told me she knew I wouldn’t have time for her when the new baby arrives and she wasn’t going to need me anymore. Sure, that sounds like something a six year old might say to brag about her newfound maturity and ability to do more things on her own like tying her shoes before school, packing her backpack, and reading bedtime stories. But that’s not what she meant. She has been talking to her kindergarten friends and observing the changes in our home in preparation for her new baby sister’s arrival. She meant she wouldn’t need me anymore because all my time will be reserved for her sister. This came as a big surprise because we have done our very best to make becoming a big sister very exciting from the moment we shared our baby news. In a mother of an only child frenzy I read parenting articles and turned to Pinterest for crafty big sister gift ideas. It may have just been the pregnancy hormones or possibly the realization that the center of my entire world would now have to share that spotlight that caused the minor breakdown I had in the closet hidden away from my six year old daughter. Now I’m on a mission to make sure big sister is excited to bring home a new baby. Part of getting ready for our new baby to arrive is making an effort for a smooth transition from an only child to a sibling as our first baby steps into her new role of big sister.
Tips for the transition from only child to sibling
1) Involve your child when making decisions on the nursery and purchasing baby gear for your new baby
When we set up our gift registry I made sure our daughter was sitting at the computer giving her opinion on every item selected. Sure, it made the process take hours longer but she seemed excited about each selection. We talked about each item added as something for our family, not just the new baby. She even added a few items on her own. When it came time to deciding on a nursery theme, we selected colors together. We decided on pink and gold but she had a completely different vision. Although I had no plans to paint each wall in the nursery flaming hot pink, we brought her favorite paint sample home along with a few other options and allowed her to select the colors. Thankfully she decided hot pink was a little too bright for a new baby sister.
2) Include a room makeover for your child while working on the nursery
She has been very excited to help with the nursery but my daughter has asked if she is getting a new room too. While completely making over her bedroom wasn’t necessary, we did rearrange furniture and hang new posters. Her ocean animals birthday party decorations were the perfect accessories for a new bedroom.
3) Give a gift from the new baby at the hospital
Although we are not quite there yet, we plan to give our daughter a gift from her new baby sister at the hospital. A few great ideas include:
- Big Sister Hospital Bag from Spit Up is the New Black
- New princess dress up clothes to remind them they will always be your little princess
- Flowers, all little girls love flowers!
- Create a gift basket customized with a special card from their new baby brother or sister
4) Include your child when making their arrangements during your hospital stay
Obviously sometimes there isn’t a long list of options but if possible, talk about the plan during your hospital stay. We have already started the conversation so my daughter isn’t surprised when she learns she is not going to be staying at the hospital overnight with us when her little sister arrives.
5) Talk through their feelings
As difficult as it was to hear my daughter say she didn’t think she would need me anymore after her baby sister arrives, her daddy and I made sure we talked to her about how she was feeling. Each time she brings up how much time we will need to spend with her sister, we have a family conversation about how special it is to become a big sister. We take every opportunity to make sure she hears how much we love her and what a great big sister she will be. And of course remind her she will always be our first baby.
preschool photo, 2013
I’m clearly no expert as we are still weeks away until we have to truly help our daughter transition from only child to sibling. As parents all we can do is our best and make sure our first baby is feeling loved along the way.
Do you have any tips to help transition from only child to sibling?