Ideas on How to Make New Big Brother Feel Special

Updated on September 01, 2008
M.B. asks from Spring, TX
26 answers

My son just turned 3 and we are expecting our 2nd child, a daughter, in a few weeks. We've had a lot of change in our house lately (changed preschool classes, staying in his own room all night, no more milk before bed, to name a few) He has handled all of these things pretty darn well. The last week or so, he's been a little fussy, testing all boundaries and trying to be even more independent than normal. He is VERY excited about his new sister and talks about how he is going to be a good big brother, help us take care of her, teach her how to do everything, etc. It just occurred to me that this is his last few weeks as our only child, and I want to enjoy it and also make the new baby coming special for him. I'm pretty creative, but I can't think of a thing to do for him! I got him a big brother t-shirt that he LOVES and I told him he can bring his camera to the hospital to take pictures of her and we can put them in a little album for him. Give me some ideas please!!! I'm running out of time!!

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M.D.

answers from Longview on

I just had my second baby 3 months ago and one thing that made my 2 year old son feel very special is as people gave presents for the new baby, one lady brought my 2 year old a "big brother" present. He loved it. It was just some crayons, coloring book, anda small toy, but he ate up the attention and felt so special.

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N.F.

answers from Albuquerque on

I am in the same boat! I started having some "time IN" with my little 3 year old. For 30 minutes a day I will play whatever he wants with just him. I plan to continue this after the baby is born to make him feel special. I also once a week or once every two weeks or once a month, plan to leave the baby with dad so we can have a date together.

Let me know what you end up doing.

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S.C.

answers from San Antonio on

When my second child was born, I tried really hard to make my older daughter feel special. She really enjoys being the "big girl" because she gets to do a lot of things that the baby did not. When she was born, my husband and I tried to take her special places just one on one, even if it was just to the store :) We took her to a movie, or to the playground or to have "special time" with her grandma and grandpa. She loves being a sister and having a built in best friend but she needed to feel like she wasn't having to share all of us at the very beginning

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S.M.

answers from Austin on

The gift to the baby is one we used but also have the baby give him a gift. There are also a few books out there that I read to my daughter @ becoming a big sis. It gave her an Idea of what to expect. You should also let visitors know that when they come in they should make a fuss over him first then have him take them to see his new sibling. Another thing we used was pointing out things that our baby couldn't do b/c he was a baby. ex:"You are so lucky you get to _______. The baby doesn't get to do that do that."

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F.O.

answers from San Antonio on

I had a friend give me advice that I have shared many times over. It's for after the baby arrives home. We tend to jump to the infant's cry and drop what we are doing. What I did was, my older son, 17mos, and I were playing on the floor with some building blocks when the baby let out a cry. My reaction was to acknowledge the cry but look at him and say, oh he can wait, let's finish playing. We sat there for maybe 3 seconds when my boy looked at me and said "baby crying", I told him oh that's okay, we're playing. He accepted it for another 3 seconds and said "baby?". I then let it be his decision to stop playing and tend to the baby and not me dropping our playtime. This happened a couple more times while I was home. He's been the best big brother in the world. They are currently 20 and 18. Enjoy them while they're little, they grow with every blink of an eye.

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T.S.

answers from Austin on

The first mistake I made - if your oldest's car seat is in the middle - MOVE IT BEFORE THE BABY COMES! She was more mad about the car seat being moved because of our baby than anything else.
I went shopping and bought a special "baby" doll for my oldest as a present from the baby - and I took her shopping for a present for a present for the baby.
Congrats on the newest!
T.

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C.H.

answers from Houston on

Hi M. B, you are already doing some great things that I never thought of. How about a book for him From his new sister? When family or friends come to meet the baby and bring her a gift, you could have a small gift(bubbles, book, car, paint book) wrapped and ready for him as well. I assembled a small basket with wipes and 2-3 diapers we kept in the living room. Your son could be a helper and bring you a diaper plus keep the basket filled. Then visitors could comment what a Big Helper he is. Congrats on your new arrival!

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R.M.

answers from Houston on

We let our first grandson pick a small stuffed toy to keep in the crib at the nursery. This way he can easily find his new baby and they love showing anyone who will look. He still tells the story when someone ask about his small stuffed frog.

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S.T.

answers from Houston on

Well, this is just an echo of the other posters but this is what I did last year when expecting #4. My 4 YO, 3 YO, and 2 YO went shopping and bought something for the baby with Grandma. They were so excited to go shopping with Grandma and pick out a present for the new baby.

I also got "A Child is Born" and we looked often at the pictures of the baby's development and when you could feel the baby move from outside my belly I let them touch it. "How I was born" is by the same author and it's child-focused.

I moved the carseats around how they would be moved so that there wouldn't be added upset when the baby comes. I am pregnant with #5 so I'm in the process of doing this again. Only this means moving my 3 YO back a bench and will make it more difficult for me to strap her in, and she'll be ALONE until my 18 month old is two, but I'm going to go ahead and do it anyway. (I'll have a Britax Blvd and a Peg Perego infant seat on the first bench, two pink Britax Regents on row two, and two pink Britax Regents on row three! Crazy! LOL Oh, and a booster seat on row four for when we have my niece with us, that makes 7 seats in all. haha

Before I digress further, when I had #4 I bought a little gift for each of the girls and packed it in my suitcase and when they came up the the hospital to see me and the baby, I gave the gifts to them 'from the baby' and we had the 'sibling cake' from the hospital delivered to us and had a birthday party! I'm not planning a hospital birth this time so I'm not sure what I'm going to do. If I have an emergency delivery in a hospital it will be an hour away so I doubt my girls would be coming to the hospital that time.

Anyway, happy birth. My sister's girls were three years apart and it was really hard for the 3 YO to get used to sharing ect. But if he's been in daycare or is used to sharing with friends, he'll probably adjust better then she did.

S., SAHM of 4 girls ages 1-5 and one on the way!

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L.M.

answers from Austin on

The best advice I received from a nurse when I was prenant with my second child was: "Sometimes the needs of the toddler are more important than the needs of an infant."

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R.C.

answers from Houston on

You have received some great ideas! I love the idea of giving your son a gift from the baby. I wouldn't go overboard with the gifts though, it might send the wrong message. Yours and your husband's time is worth more to him than anything else. My son was 4 when my daughter was born and like you, we just involved him in the whole process during my pregnancy. I let him know that he would be able to help me when the baby came home and that he would also be able to play with her when she got big enough. He was great as I'm sure your son will be! I guess the only caution would be to be careful about putting too much responsibility or pressure on him. Maybe reaffirming that he will be "helping" you and Daddy take care of his sister so he won't feel like it's his responsibility to protect her. I know that may sound strange but sometimes we say things to our children that they take literally. Congratulations! God bless!

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K.L.

answers from Houston on

One thing that was recommended to me was to have the new baby give the older sibling a gift and let him pick something out for his new sister. Also, the first time he comes into the hospital room to see you and the baby, have someone else hold the baby. My mom was holding my second when my oldest came into the room. The gift exchange between the boys was the most precious thing that happened at the hospital. It was so cute and my oldest was so excited that his baby brother had gotten him a gift. And he was really excited to give his new brother something. By the way, the shirt idea is really cute!

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C.S.

answers from Austin on

i know of a couple of things that have worked - order or make a t-shirt that says on the front "I'm The Big Brother" and wrap it up like a beautiful gift and present it to him and make a "ceremony" about it. Play it up with only your family and create a list of "rules" on a nice piece of paper (in a frame) listing a few things he will Get to do as Big Brother - i.e. protect her, will teach her things he knows, play nice with her, etc. and he can hang it on his wall in his new Big Brother Room. He will feel left out if only the new baby receives all the presents and this will be inclusive and help him realize how special he is to her. I know i've seen the t-shirts on CafePress.com, and you could get ideas to make your own or have one delivered in time. good luck with everything and enjoy your new life...

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R.B.

answers from College Station on

When my 2nd was born, I bought the book Love you Forever by Robert Munsch for my oldest and gave it to him at the hospital when he came to meet his baby sister. It was a special book for us to read, especially at times when I was nursing the new baby, and it reinforced to him that even though there was another baby, he would always be my baby, too, and I would always love him.

Be prepared for some hesitancy on his part at the hospital. My oldest wouldn't sit on the bed with me when I was holding the baby--was either scared of the IV in my arm or jealous of the baby, not sure which!--and just wanted his grandmother to hold him. He also didn't want to hold the baby at first, but that changed within the first few days.

Congratulations to your family!

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J.C.

answers from San Antonio on

Hey there,

I first want to say that your little boy might be excited about his new sister, but his world is about to be rocked and it is completely different when the baby actually gets here.

I bought a gift for each of the kids to give to each other. I had him give her one and had one from her as well. I know at this time you try and get everything done, but take the time and spend it with your son. Take him to his favortie places and spend as much time with him as possible. Make him feel special because things are going to change quite a bit and that time will be very special to him. Good luck with the new baby!

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R.

answers from San Antonio on

When my children were becoming big brother and big sister, they loved going to shop for a special gift for the new baby that they picked out themselves. We also had grandparents around at the time to make everyone feel extra special. We did favorite meals and lots of games. We also let them know what to expect when the baby came ("M. will be tired",etc) They were great big siblings and such great helps (mine are 6, 4 and 1.5) and the biggest thrill they got was actually really helping with the baby (feeding and dressing and fetching diapers etc.) You will be amazed (and relieved) at how much help he will be to you. Of coarse, we made sure that they got plenty of special time for fun (this was a major bonding time for dad!) You are going to have so much fun. (Ummm, yeah, it will be a little tough at first of coarse;)

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L.D.

answers from Houston on

My daughter has a 2 yr old son and is especting a baby in Oct. She is getting him excited by kissing her tummy and feeling the baby move. Beyond that I have no idea..would love some ideas if you get some, please send them my way.

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K.C.

answers from Houston on

I dont know very many ideas but one that you just named for him to do for his sister is a good idea------have someone up there taking pictures of him for his real last moments of being a only child. So in the future he can see how excited he was about having a sister. Make him a litle scrapbook that is just of him on becoming a big brother.

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S.W.

answers from Houston on

My son was three when he became a big brother too. We also got him a shirt, but took it into the delivery room with us and had his baby brother's feet stamped on it as a cool keepsake. I also took him shopping and let him pick out a gift for his new brother and my husband and I also got a gift for him from the baby. Another suggestion, when he comes to meet his sister at the hospital, make sure he is the first in the room, and then the baby is brought it. He will be just fine and probably a big helper! Congratulations and good luck!

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D.M.

answers from Houston on

I don't know how your husband will feel about this, but I have 4 children. My oldest is 5 1/2 years older than her brother, then there is 4 1/2 years between him and my daughter. I took a "baby" to the hospital with me when I had my other children. I then gave this "baby" to them as their very own. There are some very realistic "babies" out there. This way, when I was spending time with the new baby, they could mimic me with their baby. I think it seemed to help the transition. My oldest just had her 2nd and she asked me if I would get her a "baby" for her 3year old son. He was very excited to have his own "baby" too! Good Luck!!

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M.S.

answers from San Antonio on

I firmly second the gift idea...we had a special gift for my son from his new baby sister...he loved that the baby brought him a gift.

Also, I went to the dollar store and bought five or six small toys and wrapped them and placed them in a basket...when people stopped by with a gift for the new baby, he got to pick a gift out of the basket if they didn't bring something for him too. That way there was always a gift for everyone.

My son adjusted very well and for the longest time he called her "my baby (her name)"...and would show her off to every one as "my baby".

Good luck...{{{{hugs}}}

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B.G.

answers from Austin on

My son was the same age as yours when our 11th month old was born. Three is a tough stage as it is. We got him a little Manhattan Toy Pea in the Pod baby doll. He called it by his sister's name, slept with it and grew very attached. We also had him pick out a special something to give his sister when she was in the hospital. We did the same for him by having a gift "from her" wrapped up and ready to go. We did the gift exchange in the hospital. Also, ask all of your friends and family to acknowledge him first when coming to visit the baby. Show him plenty of attention before paying any attention to the baby. Tell him this is "his baby" and tell him exactly how he will be a great help (bringing mom diapers, feeding the baby, holding the baby, etc.). Our son is a pistol but he has done GREAT with our daughter. He actually had tons of behavioral problems when she was born but NEVER took it out on her. He has always adored her and I truly believe it's because we set him up for success with his sister. I would pump and let him bottle feed her sometimes. He held her often and so on. Do count on some chaos in your family. The change is a big one. I didn't see it until she was 6 months old and he started to cool down. Looking back, all of the problems he gave us had to have been from anxiety due to all of the change in his life. Oh, last thing...there are lots of great books on baby sisters. Make a book store stop, if you haven't already. We read them every night. Good luck and congratulations on your baby girl!

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C.D.

answers from Austin on

Have him color some art to hang in the baby's room, or make a birth day card, have him select a special newborn toy for her and maybe give him a toy as well to celebrate your daughter's birth. Highly recommend Toy Joy on Guadalupe, north of UT-fun for all ages!

-C., CD (DONA)

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S.L.

answers from Longview on

Hello! First of all, congratulations on your new little one (almost!). I also had my 2nd child (a son) and had a just-turned-3 year old son at the time and I also wanted to make him feel special, as we all do. I took him to the store and let him pick out a special gift for him to give the baby at the hopital. We had it wrapped and everything! I also bought something special for him from the baby ( a Big Brother painted picture frame to put their first pic in from the hospital.) It was wrapped, too, and he got to open it in front of the baby at the hospital. Funny thing is, at that age it doesn't occur to them that the baby didn't actually go shopping and pick it out! My oldest is 6 1/2 now and still has the frame on his dresser with their first meeting pic in it! Hope this helps! I also thought your letting your son create his own album is a good one, and when he is older he will laugh at the "quality" of photos he took at 3! Good luck!
S.

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M.Z.

answers from Austin on

dear M.,
one idea is to go and get a photo of him and you, or daddy too if he chooses. blow it up and frame it and put it in his room where he can see it.
you can also set up things that he can do to help out before baby #2 arrives. because when shes here hell be all up in your face wanting to help. instead of setting only boundaries let him know what he can expect that he can do to help you out.
M.

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L.C.

answers from San Antonio on

I don't know what the protocol is for this sort of thing, but I have a book entitled "I'm Going to be a Big Brother" that I would love to mail to you! I purchased it when I was pregnant and we just never got around to filling it up. It is a memory keeper and is adorable...It has designated spaces for pictures and lots of fill in the blank for before and even a page for handprints for both him and baby.
It is decorated with bright colors, soccer, football and baseball mit and lots of starts throughout.
If you would like me to send it to you, send me an email at [email protected]____.com! Thanks and good luck! L. Cole

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