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Creative Ideas for Preparing Your Child for the Promotion to Big Sister or Big Brother

Do you know a little one that is about to get the promotion of a lifetime? Becoming a big sister or a big brother for the first time is quite the momentous occasion. My daughter (3 years old) stepped up in rank two months ago when her baby brother was born, but we had been preparing for this great transition for the majority of our pregnancy. Here are some gift items and tips that helped us open the conversation about our growing family. And just in time for the holidays—because what better gift is a new baby sibling?! (One day they will agree!)

092 Amanda Macy Hall Project Nursery

Baby Dolls. A baby doll is a no-brainer! These adorable babies (baby sister or baby brother) are our favorites—they are a great size, as cute as can be, and very durable. Plus, they have an entire line of clothing and accessories, too! Hold, feed, rock, change, swaddle, bathe and read to the baby. And most importantly, be gentle with the baby! You can go ahead and begin teaching to only kiss baby’s hair and toes.

wee baby fella and wee baby stella

Doll Baby Carrier. Seeing me carry Baby Brother around in a baby carrier is a very visual reminder that there is someone else in the picture now, and I know that must be tough. I try to show my daughter that the carrier frees up my hands to play with her. Having her put her dolls in her own carrier is a great way to exemplify this. I wish I had started doing it before the baby arrived though. Two favorites are this soft shell carrier and this wrap.

Doll Accessories. No need to go wild and buy all the things, but some accessories are really helpful so that you two can begin role-playing the new routines before baby arrives. Hint: some real baby items (like bottles) are actually less expensive than the ones geared towards baby dolls. And just like real babies, who can resist tiny baby clothes! Or this impressive “jogging stroller.”

Baby Diaper Bag. Technically this falls under baby accessories, but I just have to call out this cute idea separately. This mini tote (size small) makes the perfect baby diaper bag for mini mommies and daddies. This was our daughter’s big sis gift that she got when we came home from the hospital with her brother. She loves to pack it full with tiny books, her keys, phone, wallet and baby items—just like mom! We also tucked a swaddle blanket in it, so that she would have a special blanket just like her baby brother.

Narrating New Life. In the months leading up to baby’s arrival, I would try to help my daughter visualize what everyday changes were to come. For instance, while she was taking a bath I would say things like, “When Baby Brother gets here, you will be in the tub just like you are now, and I’ll be right here with baby in the sink! All together! How fun!”

Re-Introducing the Baby Gear. As we began to pull out the bassinets, baby bouncers, and play gyms, we would talk all about where they would go and what they would be used for. It was especially fun to show her pictures of her using the items when she was a baby. I think that extra step really helped her to understand what the products would be used for, plus it gave her some extra special attention and reminders of how much we love her.

Books. There is no shortage of bringing home baby books for little kids. I spent a ridiculous amount of time choosing the right ones for our daughter. I even returned some that just weren’t quite right—I don’t think I’ve ever done that before! Here are our favorites that we read incessantly for the better part of nine months: Mama’s BellyLittle Miss Big Sis, Hello in ThereGod Gave Us Two, Daniel Tiger: The Baby is Here! (Truth: we watched all the episodes about Daniel getting a baby sister. Loved them all!)

Apps. The Bump app shows a 3D interactive picture of a mom’s body with a baby growing inside. It’s a bit realistic, but my daughter loved looking at it and watching it grow each week. I’m pretty sure she thought it was an actual photo of me and her baby brother! I never told her otherwise. The Ovia app has a sweet hand and foot size chart that grows each week. My daughter liked watching this one progress and always compared the size to the size of her own hands and feet. So cute!

Instant Photos. We brought an instant photo camera with us to the hospital and it may be one of the best things I’ve ever done as a parent! When our daughter came to visit us and meet her baby brother we took photos as a family, photos of her and the baby, and photos of the baby. She had a blast taking the photos and posing, but the best part was that she got to take them home with her immediately. This helped out immensely since we didn’t all go home together as a family that day. Later that week she took the photos with her to school to show her friends. These tiny photos are absolutely cherished by our whole family now!

How did you prepare your child for the arrival of a new sibling? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

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Kari Grinstead

Monday 7th of January 2019

Where did you find the Daniel Tiger baby episodes? My daughter loves Daniel and we will be welcoming her baby sister soon!


Tuesday 8th of January 2019

It's on Amazon Prime season 5!