For nine months the older brother(s) and/or sister(s) have been told that they will have a brother or sister entering the house. That’s quite a long time in the life of a tiny child. Their attention span typically doesn’t last more than several hours, and definitely not as long as nine months. So when the big day for newborn’s gala comes and they see all the decorations for the gala, the table of gifts, all the guests making a fuss over their mother, and no one paying any attention to them; is it any wonder if they feel mystified or envious?
Without even trying to, adults can innocently initiate anxiety, even resentment, in the older siblings in the family of a new baby. This is caused merely because of lack of consideration on the adults’ part. Everyone fixates on the new baby and ignores the existing tiny children, who don’t really understand that there is a new brother or sister “hanging out” in mommy’s tummy.
To relieve this snag somewhat, it would be a superb notion to incorporate the siblings, in the arrangements for the gala. Let them make a banner for the gala. Who cares if it isn’t a perfect piece of art? Depending on their ages, let them help set up the table, string balloons and streamers. Whatever the child can accomplish, let them. Then when they look back on the photos taken at the party, they can say, “I helped, didn’t I?”
Another answer to alleviate hurt feelings is to have games and prizes just for the siblings and any of their friends attending the gala. Have a coloring contest, a small scavenger hunt, races, and give prizes to the winners. Have prizes for all the little ones, as they don’t understand winning, just losing.
Also think about buying sibling gifts for each of the big brothers and sisters. A gift just for them. Then seeing all the gifts for the new baby may not seem so momentous. There are gifts created to help the siblings organize for the new baby and help get over any feelings of jealousy or panic. A gift created to give them a place not just at the gala, but in the new, larger family soon to come.
A great gift idea is a sibling photo album. An album is a excellent spot to put the first photos of the sibling helping at the baby shower, as well as photos taken with the new baby and he/she comes home.
Engraved keepsakes are another excellent choice. Engraved or personalized piggy banks, jewelry items, a name sign for their room’s door, or personalizing a special gift with baby’s name embroidered on it, as well as countless other such choices.
The old standby – toys; you can’t go wrong with a first-rate toy to compensate the child for just being part of the family and to commemorate his/her upcoming role. There are many excellent gift baskets created especially for the older siblings and geared to help them take on their “big brother/sister” responsibilities.
One last note, let the sibling(s) choose their own gift for the new baby, and permit them to put the gift in the newborn’s room themselves. Let them to give their gift to the new baby when he/she comes home. However you handle the matter, please remember to include the siblings, as well as the new dad, in your gala plans. Your attention to detail will be greatly appreciated by the new mother and be remembered by the entire family for years to come.