It is natural for older siblings to feel left out after introducing a new baby into the family. In this Verywell Family article, Mindpath Health’s Zishan Khan, MD, explains why giving a gift from the baby can help kids get excited to meet their sibling.
When introducing a new baby into the family, it can be natural for an older sibling to feel left out. One great way to get kids excited to meet their sibling is to give them a gift from their new brother or sister. “Older siblings are vulnerable to feeling left out, which they can experience as rejection. Providing a gift is one way to help support older siblings during this transitional period,” says Emily Guarnotta, Psy.D.
Though there are many gifts and toys to choose from, the best sibling gifts from a new baby should be personal and memorable, so your child will recognize how special they are and continue to appreciate them as they grow. Opting for a gift that helps include the older child in the new baby’s routine is a great strategy, too. In search of the best sibling gifts to ease transition, we combined personal experience with industry research and spoke with psychology and development experts.
You’re The Biggest: Keepsake Gift Book Celebrating Becoming a Big Brother or Sister
This sweet picture book helps an older sibling mark their new role as the biggest child of the family following the arrival of a new baby. The story follows two young foxes on an adventure, all the while highlighting the strengths and unique abilities of an older sibling. It’s a fun and affordable gift to give a sibling after the new baby arrives, and if your kiddo is at reading age, you can let them read it to the baby before bedtime. A space for a handwritten note in the front of the book means this is a wonderful keepsake, too.
Ergobaby Original Baby Doll Carrier
This baby doll carrier looks just like the one that mom will surely be toting baby sibling in. The cute carrier can help an older sibling feel more included in mom or dad’s new routine, and they can easily carry around their favorite doll or stuffed animal, just like mom and dad will be carrying around the baby.
Melissa & Doug Let’s Play House! Dust, Sweep & Mop Set
“Providing different toys can help keep a child engaged and prevent them from losing interest and potentially turning to negative attention-seeking behaviors due to boredom,” says Zishan Khan, MD, a child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist with Mindpath Health. This toy cleaning set is a fun way to keep kids actively engaged, and it’ll make them feel like they’re helping out around the house. Letting them sweep along with mom or dad, and encouraging them to keep the house tidy are also great ways to develop early awareness and responsibility.
Little Partners Kids Learning Tower
A learning tower is a fantastic way to keep older kids engaged. This safe, sturdy tower lets older siblings watch, learn, and help with household chores like washing dishes or preparing dinner. It’s a fun and inventive way to help kids feel important and recognized around the house. This option is made from solid wood with full surround support rails and four levels of height adjustment.
cuddle + kind Lucy The Lamb Hand-Knit Doll
These fair trade, hand-knit dolls can be purchased in two sizes—large for an older sibling and small for a baby sibling. Buying a matching set of dolls for a pair of siblings is special and personal, so each one can have their own unique toy while maintaining a connection between the two.
The New York Doll Collection My First Doll Stroller
Newborn babies spend a lot of time being pushed around in a stroller. Whether it’s to encourage them to nap or just to let parents get some fresh air on a walk, a stroller is an essential tool for any parent. That’s why we love this baby doll stroller—it helps older kids get involved in the action, and lets them feel like they’re pushing a baby around town, too.
Me and My Big Brother/My Big Sister
A personalized book is a fun and creative way to help older kids feel special in what is sure to be a confusing and overwhelming time. These books can be completely customized and are suitable for kids from birth to 8 years old. Each option helps tell the story of how special it is to have a sibling, and how every day can be filled with fun and adventure.
Miles Kimball Personalized Children’s Rocking Chair
Any parent knows that sitting in a rocking chair takes up a lot of the first few months of a baby’s life. Whether you’re rocking them to sleep, feeding them a bottle, or endlessly burping, a rocking chair is a must for any nursery. Why not set up a mini rocking chair for older siblings right next to the big one? That way, the older siblings can feel included and appreciated during all those hours spent rocking. They can help read a book, hold the bottle, or shush the baby to sleep from their own personalized chair.
Fisher-Price Medical Kit Preschool Pretend Doctor Playset
Newborn babies spend a lot of time going back and forth to doctor’s appointments, so this toy set is a great way for big siblings to play along. You can even let older sibling do their own monthly “check-up” on the baby to feel more included in taking care of them. This set features seven play pieces like a stethoscope, thermometer, and doctor’s bag.
Big Sister/Big Brother Personalized Coloring Activity Book
Any older sibling will love preparing for the birth of a new baby with this fun coloring and activity book. With two design options, one for boys and one for girls, the book can be customized with your little one’s name. They can fill out the information, color pictures, and help mom and dad prepare. The best part is it can serve as a scrapbook that they can look back at for years to come.
What to look for in a sibling gift from new baby
As with any gift for a child, sibling gifts from the new baby should be educational in order to promote a child’s creativity and development. “I believe it is important for a child to have a variety of toys available to them to help foster curiosity and help develop various cognitive and fine motor skills,” says Dr. Khan. “A child that is exposed to a plethora of options to play with will find greater interest in exploring their environment, broadening their exposure to various stimuli, thus improving their capacity to learn. By further stimulating their senses by offering new items for them to experience, one can potentially speed the progression of their development. It can be helpful to think of a play area with multiple items to interact with as a sort of gymnasium for a child’s brain, which craves visual, spatial, and memory exercises,” he adds.
However, keep in mind that an educational toy doesn’t necessarily mean academic. Kids learn a variety of physical, social, emotional, and cognitive skills as they play and use their imagination, so any toy that sparks their creativity can serve an educational purpose. According to Dr. Guarnotta, “in general, it is good practice to give gifts to children that are educational in nature or encourage creative play. That way, your gift will help your child develop curiosity and foster their mental development.”
When shopping for a sibling gift, it’s a good idea to look for a gift that is personalized for the child you’re giving it to. Getting an older sibling a personalized gift is a great way to make them feel seen and important, especially during a time when all of the attention is on the new baby.
The arrival of a new sibling is a huge time in any young person’s life, and it’s a time that should be memorialized and remembered. Whether your child is old enough to remember little details of their sibling’s birth or not, getting them a keepsake can help teach them how special the bond between siblings is.
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