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How to Involve Children with a New Baby: Impact on Siblings, Ideas for Special Time, Gifts for All & a Grandma's Story

Updated on July 29, 2017
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Ann loves writing about family & traditions connected with it. Ancestry is an important factor of who we are.


Just got home!
Just got home! | Source

Being Involved

The arrival of a baby is always going to cause change - for everyone!

An older sibling is going to react, probably with joy and excitement but also with some apprehension as to what it's going to be like not having Mum and Dad to him/herself any more. There may be some jealousy even if the child does not want to feel it or doesn't understand what s/he's feeling. There might be guilt about those feelings and that in turn can cause upset, anger and ensuing problems. The key to making the most of the situation is, of course, to involve the older child as much as possible.

It's important to explain (some details depending on age):

  • what's going to happen in practical terms, at the birth itself and afterwards,
  • that things might be hectic during and after the birth, for a while,
  • what contingency plans have been made in case of emergency,
  • who might be looking after the child, even for a short time (involving some choice by the child if possible),
  • what part the child can play to help Mum, to get things ready - discussing what should be in the nursery, what toys would be fun, what colours to choose, what baby clothes to get, even some discussion about names,
  • that the child will have as much information as possible about what's going on at all times, especially being told as soon as the baby arrives and being able to see the new brother/sister as soon as possible.

Special Time

Give the child his/her own time with Mum and Dad, doing things not connected with the baby. This doesn't necessarily mean spending money. These are things to do before and after the birth. Here are a few ideas:

  • an afternoon watching the child's choice of dvd - together
  • a walk out in the countryside, along the canal, looking round town at interesting things..... (this might have to be with Dad if Mum is near time!)
  • playing games together - cards, ludo, jigsaw, hide & seek, I Spy - some of these games can have little treats for those who win (parents too, it's all about sharing); stickers, points towards something, sweets occasionally
  • cooking with Mum or Dad - cupcakes (these can be personalised for each family member)
  • special time with grandparents too
  • a trip out occasionally, be it to the cinema, to a country park, bowling...
  • ask the child what s/he would like to do

A Story for My Granddaughter

My granddaughter's Mum was adamant that her daughter would not feel left out when her little sister was born. We all did our bit to talk about it and give her time for herself. As a grandmother, I had an excuse to spoil her a bit more (not too much though!).

She had presents to commemorate her sister's birth, as well as presents from the baby. I decided to write her a story for the occasion; she loves writing too and we'd worked on little stories together (we're also in the process of writing a children's book). The story is pretty close to what actually happened! (Names have been changed.)

Special Sister

Sarah wondered what it would be like. She’d had Mum to herself for ten years. It was exciting that she was going to have a sister, going to be a big sister. It was good to be part of a family which was suddenly expanding. A sister and two new cousins!

Life had changed quite a lot in a year. A new school, a new house, Mum’s partner moving in and they were getting married soon – such a lot to think about. Sarah knew that she was included in everything; that she would know as soon as the baby was born, even though it might happen when she was away at her Auntie’s (having fun and being spoilt!).

Sophie arrived on a cold, snowy winter’s day. Sarah was away! She couldn’t wait to get to the hospital, to see the baby, to see Mummy. Oh, what a lovely sister! Sarah stood for ages just looking down at her, Sophie clutching her finger. So beautiful, so tiny, lots of shiny dark hair, dark eyes - brown or blue? “Can I hold her?”

Mummy gave Sarah a charm bracelet, a special present to remind her that she wasn’t forgotten amongst all the celebrations.

It was chaos at home; baby stuff everywhere. Sarah took her bags upstairs. “This place is never going to be the same again,” she thought. Grandma was downstairs. Here to help Mummy. Here with lots of presents for Sophie and Mummy.

Sarah went back downstairs. She sat cuddling her sister for a while. She didn’t want to hand her back; it was good holding the little warm bundle! She felt part of it all.

“Come and help me, sweetie,” said Grandma. “I need to sort out this bag of bits and pieces.” They went into the other room. “That’s for Sophie,” Grandma handed her a little parcel, “and these few things are for Mummy.”

“All these things; it’s nice of Grandma to give presents to my new sister,” thought Sarah, “and Mummy deserves something nice, because she’s tired and a bit sore.”

They went back to the chaos. Sarah gave Sophie her present; Mummy was so pleased, pleased with the baby’s cuddly teddy and with her own teddy-bear charm for her bracelet.

Sarah sat down and looked thoughtful. “Is it good to have a sister?” asked Grandma. “Yes!” replied Sarah emphatically. She sat quietly again.

A little later, Grandma was cradling Sophie in her arms. She got up and said, “I have a little present for you too, Sarah, but first, come with me.”

Still with the baby, Grandma led Sarah back upstairs, a bag in her hand. They reached Sarah’s bedroom.

“This is a present from your sister,” and, putting the bag on Sophie’s hand, she held it out. Inside was a plaque with a picture of a cat on it and the words “SPECIAL SISTER”.

“Sophie will know when she’s older that she gave you that for your door; by then, she will also know how special you really are.”

Suggested Presents for Big Sisters and Brothers

General suggestions

Photos and/or heart necklace with photo opening

personalised poem

a play room for both (depends on the differences in ages)

special weekend away - older one makes the choice of activities

special time with Mum (alone!) and quality time with parents when baby asleep

own time with grandparents

keeping a scrapbook made by big sister/brother


Your family rôle

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© 2012 Ann Carr


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    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Mary: I'm so sorry I missed your comment all that time ago! I've no idea how it happened but it did. I appreciate that you read so many of my hubs and I would never intentionally ignore them.

      The 'Sophie' in the photo is actually my first daughter held by me a few days after she was born, not her real name. Sophie is a name I've allocated to my second granddaughter who is indeed adorable! Thank you for your lovely comment. (I've since had a third granddaughter who is 1 next Tuesday!)

      I know you haven't written here for a while but I'm not sure why; I've a feeling I've read in other hubs that you haven't been well. If that's so, then I send you all my best wishes and pray that you are recovering. I will go to your profile and up-date.

      Looking forward to reading some of your super writing soon.


    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Patricia: I did it again; missed your comment! Apologies once more. The book hasn't materialised yet but is still in the making; it takes a while when we're both busy!

      Hope all's well with you.


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      My iPad won't let me edit my comment. I had to come back and tell you how adorable your lovely Sophie is!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      Your story is amazing and so beautiful. I have a grandson who is having some jealousy issues with his two year old cousin, my granddaughter. It seems as she got older he got a bit more jealous. We're working on it and pointing out how much time we spend with him and how much fun we have together, etc.

      I digress, this hub makes wonderful sense and should be quite a help to new parents.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Such a precious story ...and a book, too? Let us know when it comes out if it hasn't already. My eldest grandson was 16 when his baby brother was born. And he just did not know how he felt. he had been the center of his Momma's world for sixteen years...but it did not take long till he was under baby doll's spell and he has been ever since.

      Great hub

      voted up++++ and shared

      Angels are once again on the way to you ps

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 5 years ago from SW England

      Thank you Angela for your comment and for the votes. I'm glad you liked it. It is important to make sure children understand situations like this.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      What a great and important topic... Voted up and shared!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 6 years ago from SW England

      I'm really pleased that you can pass it on to someone & I hope it proves useful. I suppose it's common sense really but everyone needs reminding sometimes and it's a stressful time! Thanks so much for your votes! Ann

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Excellent ideas. I'll pass this on to someone who is expecting a newborn, who will be her son's first brother. Voting this Up and Useful.