What to get a new baby's sibling

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Deciding what to get a new baby's sibling is easy with these suggestions

Preparing an only child for the arrival of a new sibling is a delicate task. On one hand, they're used to having your full attention and equate that quantity of attention with love.

Now that your attention will be divided, they need to know you love them as much as ever. Picture yourself in your first child's position: They see a steady flow of gifts, all for this new baby. The baby is also the center of conversation, more and more so the closer the arrival gets.

Alongside those colorful, soft baby baskets, consider what makes a good gift for a new sibling. The first rule of thumb is anything that would normally make your child happy is bound to be a good gift. Something catered to their personality and interests - fun kids clothing, special books, "big kid" activity kits - shows them they still own much of your heart.

It's easy to see why a child may dread a new noisy, demanding addition to the family. Fortunately, parents have a few months notice to help their child adjust so they're ready to step into big brother or big sister mode when the time comes. Once the general idea sinks in, there are all kinds of books, games and toys to help get them actually excited for the change.

What may surprise you

You've spent hours carefully choosing what you think is the perfect present only to find your child is more interested in the baby's things. According to child development experts, there's no need to worry about defining “property rights” until the baby grows old enough to lay claims. For now, there's no harm in allowing your child to play with the baby's things.

Big and small toys

Children pre-school age or younger often enjoy playing with a bigger version of their younger siblings toys. It reminds them they're the “big” brother or sister and satisfies their curiosity. It's also a simple way to resolve a child's worry that the baby gets everything. No more “not fair!”.

Look for a set of stuffed animals that come in varying sizes. There are also big and small trucks and balls, as well as big kid additions of popular board books.

Encourage her unique interests

If your son or daughter is beyond pre-school, consider giving them a special backpack, magnifying glass or other big kid toy. This helps them see themselves as separate from the new baby. Big kid play stimulates their minds and even nudges them into the role of a protective, loving older sibling.

Hospital entertainment

When deciding what to get the sibling of a new baby, consider that they'll likely visit you at the hospital for a few days. If this is the case, go with something they can play with right away. A fancy toy that requires assembly is not the best pick for this time. Also avoid things with small pieces or irreplaceable parts!

Trucks and airplanes are fun, they don't make a mess or require playmates. Building blocks are also a good choice, especially if you add a few to the collection every day so they look forward to coming to see the new baby.

Party for two

One thing to keep in mind when figuring out what to get the sibling of a new baby is that they want to play with you. Between feedings and nap times and more feedings, your other child will want you to do something with them, too. A small train set that you can both put together or a puzzle you can work on for a little while everyday is guaranteed together time.

When people visit to see the new baby, they can also sit down and read a book with the older sibling, or build a castle. Small things everyone can do with the kid shows you still and will always love spending time with them.

Welcoming a new baby is an exciting and stressful time. New toys aren't the answer to every parenting obstacle, but in this case, these big brother big sister ideas help ease your child's mind and bring plenty of big kid smiles.

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