I recently had a string of big sibling gifts I was able to give both family and friends. I wanted the big sibling gifts to be PERFECT for very different reasons. It made me think about how to give a big sibling gift and what I hope to do for the big brother or sister while they are waiting to welcome their new baby sibling into their family.
We were lucky, blessed and fortunate to have 3 kids. We had them in what you might call rapid succession. When we had our last baby, we had 3 children who were 4 years and younger. We definitely had our hands full with a young family. While we prepared for baby #2 and baby #3, people would talk to us about how our baby #1 and baby #2 would react to having a younger sibling. Most of the advice or stories were not positive and were really nerve-wracking. I remember feeling uneasy and buying a lot of books that I could read to the kids about all the fun we would have with a new baby. It turned out not to be too traumatic to bring a new baby home and introduce them to their big siblings. I have always remembered the feeling of relief that this experience went smoother than expected.
So, as I approached two families who are having babies, our own experience of bringing home a little sibling was in the back of my mind. Here were the things I was thinking about:
Those delightfully cute, new and wee little babies always get all the gifts! If you are a toddler or under 4 yourself, it must feel tough to see gift after gift being given to a new little baby who can’t do anything with their gift including opening it. It is easy to solve this challenge. Make sure to give a gift to the baby, but also get a gift for the siblings of the new baby so that they have something to open too.
Here is the thing about baby gifts: they give so much joy and elicit so much happiness and laughter. Gifts are cute, often small, often soft and often clever so that when they are opened they make everyone who is watching happy. I thought about the big sibling watching all the gifts being opened and seeing all the happy, not only do you want to get some happy of your own in getting a gift, but you also want to GIVE a gift to make your Mom, Dad, all those who are watching and even the baby happy.
We have a sweet little kindergartner in our lives who will soon have a new baby brother or sister. The kindergartner herself was a true gift and thought to be the only child in a wonderful family. The news of a new baby is a happy surprise and more evidence everyday miracles do happen. I think of her often and hope the excitement she feels about the baby coming holds through her mother’s entire pregnancy. We wanted this sweet little girl to have her own gift, but to also have a gift she could give to the baby when she thought it was the perfect time to give a gift. We sent her a note telling her how excited we were for her and how being a big sister comes with new things only she will share with the baby. One of them being she will be the only big sister this baby will ever have. And so she should have a gift to give and only she will know the right time to give this gift. Our little kindergarten friend was excited and sent us this fabulous picture!
The other family we were giving a gift to was having their 5th baby! What a blessing and what a crew! The oldest of this crew is 11 and the youngest is almost 3. We quickly put gifts together for big sibling #3 and #4. They are young and having a gift to open for themselves while the baby gets a gift seemed like the best idea for them. But what about big sibling #2 and big sibling #1, what to do for them? They were already experienced at a new little brother or sister coming home with Mom and Dad. They are also at an age where getting a stuffed animal may not seem “cool”. We decided to write them a note sharing how proud we are of them and how excited we are for them that they will have a new baby in their family again. We know how happy their family is about the baby and the joy in their home. We gave them each a tiny nibble stuffed bunny that they could give to either their own little baby sister if she needed some cheering up or to give to someone else at church or their homeschool group that might need some extra care or a shot of joy. We wanted them to be able to give some happiness and joy, to share how they were feeling.
Both gifts were the most fun I had in gift-giving in a while. I took a bit of time to think about how I wanted each of the big siblings to feel as they welcome a new baby in their families. I hope you have as much fun as I did when you give your next gift.
Give Glad Dreams,