Bringing a new baby home is an exciting occasion for a family, but it can also pose challenges for older siblings. Older siblings — especially those who were only children before — may have their worlds rocked by suddenly sharing their parents with a new baby. “Children may experience this shift as a loss that they grieve,” warns expert Kathy Hardie-Williams of goodtherapy.org. One way that many families choose to help with this transition is to give a gift to the big brother or big sister.
But what do you buy siblings when the new baby arrives?
When choosing new baby gifts for siblings, try to select something that will support the new big sister or brother’s emotional and psychological needs during this time of transition. The gifts might help by:
- Celebrating the older sibling’s new role and relationship with the baby
- Bestowing on the big sister or brother something that is uniquely their own
- Demonstrating the benefit of being the “big kid”
- Giving the older sibling something creative or productive to do
- Honoring the older sibling’s special relationship with his or her parents
- Including the big brother or sister in caring for the new baby
- Providing an opportunity for quality time with the parents
I have carefully selected all the gifts listed below to delight your child while also providing them crucial support.
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New Baby Gifts that Celebrate the Role of Big Brother or Sister
- Superhero Cape – This cape would be so fun for a toddler or preschooler to wear around, showing off their new superhero big sister or brother status.
- Shirt – A big brother or big sister shirt proudly displays the new status while also making for an adorable photo op. Don’t forget the matching “little” shirt for the new baby.
- Personalized Book – A personalized book is a special way to uniquely celebrate the older sibling’s new role. I love how this personalized book highlights the ways the baby will look up to and admire the older sibling, as well as empowering the big brother or sister to be a helper. It even comes with a medal.
- Christmas Ornament – Honor the big brother or sister with a personalized Christmas ornament. Each year, he or she will be able to proudly hang the ornament on the tree. Get your big brother ornament or big sister ornament on Etsy. The shop I’ve linked to also includes middle sibling ornaments.
- Backpack – A big sibling backpack will be the perfect place for the older sibling to store books or toys, to play pretend with, or to pack for an adventure. If the sibling is interested in helping in this way, maybe he or she could even help store the baby’s things as a special job when you go out. Get your big brother backpack or your big sister backpack on Etsy.
- Doll and Book – These adorable doll and book packages make the perfect new baby gift for siblings. The new brother or sister can carry the doll and perhaps learn to care for it like you will the new baby. We personally own the corresponding I’m a Big Sister Now book, which was given as a gift to my oldest child when her brother was born. It is a wonderful introduction to having a baby at home and demonstrating how special it is to be the big sibling.
Older Sibling Gifts that are Uniquely Their Own
Becoming a big sister or brother necessitates a whole bunch of sharing the child did not have to do before. Older siblings have to share their parents’ attention, of course, along with their house, perhaps some of their toys and clothes, and maybe even their room. In this helpful post from the University of Michigan, Kyla Boyse, R.N., suggests that parents, “Make sure the older child has some special, private space, and things of their own that they don’t have to share with the baby.” These new baby gifts for siblings provide big brothers and sisters with items that are uniquely their own.
- Personalized Chair – Consider giving older siblings a personalized chair. They will have the perfect spot to sit in the house that is all their own.
- Subscription – Kids can get so excited when mail shows up just for them! Sign the older child up for a subscription, such as to High Five or Highlights magazine. Also, be sure they are registered for Imagination Library (it’s free!) if it is available in your area.
- Personalized Art Display – As the older siblings create their own art, give them a special place to display it in the house. These personalized art displays are just right for giving the big brother or sister’s artwork a place of honor.
- Bedroom Sign – A personalized sign for the big brother or sister’s room is the perfect way to mark their special territory. There are lots of adorable options on Etsy, including this woodland creature sign. If the baby and older sibling will be sharing a room, you could opt for a name display to go over the big sibling’s bed.
Sibling Gifts that Demonstrate the Benefits of Being “Big”
Being the “biggest” comes along with a set of special privileges that the new baby will be too young to have. Boyse proposes that parents, “Point out the benefits of being an older child, like choosing what to eat, being able to go the park and play, and having friends.” To go along with these new privileges, these sibling gifts celebrate just how big the older sibling is.
- Desk – Big brothers or sisters will feel extra big when you give them a desk all their own. Not only will this be a great acknowledgment of how grownup they are, but it will also give them space all their own to work on art projects or schoolwork while their parents are otherwise occupied. This Step2 desk is wonderful for little ones, or this compact solid wood desk from Melissa & Doug is perfect for kids from 3 to 8.
- Bedding – Celebrate the big sibling by letting him or her choose some brand new bedding for his or her bed. You can point out how much bigger the bed is than the baby’s bassinet and remind your child how neat it is to be old enough to actually choose the bedding. Perhaps opt for a monogrammed pillowcase for an extra special touch!
- Kids’ Edition Fire Tablet – My daughters love their Kids’ Edition Fire tablet from Amazon. You can give your older child the privilege of having his or her very own tablet while also providing some safe, quality entertainment. The FreeTime app that comes on the Fire Tablet offers a huge collection of ebooks, audiobooks, and educational apps for kids, and more. Parents can control how and when the tablet is used, and it comes with its own protective case. You get FreeTime free for one year when you purchase the tablet. It proved so valuable, we decided to make the small monthly payment to keep it after the trial was over.
- Outdoor Toy – When our youngest child was born, my mom bought my older three kids a dome climber for the backyard. A nice new outdoor toy reinforces the older child’s “bigness” while also giving them something new and fun to play with. See my list of must-have outdoor toys here.
Creative New Baby Gifts for Siblings
Since the new baby will take up so much of the parents’ time and energy, some big sibling gifts provide entertainment for when the parents are not able to focus on the older child. You could perhaps put these items aside and pull them out during particularly busy times for the new parents, such as feeding or rocking the baby to sleep. You can visit my list of amazing art toys for kids for some ideas, but the suggestions below are designed specifically for big brothers and sisters.
- Personalized Crayons – You can never have enough crayons, right? You can gift personalized crayons that read “Big Sister” or “Big Brother,” or have some personalized with the older sibling’s name.
- Big Sibling Kit – This big sister kit looks pretty amazing. The older sibling will receive supplies to make a welcome banner for the baby, a memory book, items to help with baby, and plenty of activities to keep her busy. Here is the big brother version.
- Big Sibling Activity Book – How about a book full of activities especially for the big sibling? With this big sister or big brother activity book, the older sibling will have plenty of puzzles, coloring pages, games, and activities to stay engaged while welcoming the new baby into the family.
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Gifts that Honor the Older Sibling’s Special Relationship with Parents
Kids can feel nervous about what the arrival of a new baby means for their relationship with their parents. In this Psychology Today article, Meri Wallace, LCSW, suggests to parents, “Reassure him that a sibling will not take away your love. Tell him, ‘You will always be our baby and we will always love you. Daddy and Mommy have so much love. We have enough love for both of you.’” These sentimental gifts remind siblings of their important and irreplaceable relationship with their parents.
- Framed Photo – Give the older sibling a special photo —perhaps of the three of you together — in a sentimental frame such as this personalized frame from Etsy that features a version of the classic verse from Robert Munsch’s book, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
- Jewelry – A piece of jewelry will be a precious keepsake for older siblings to remind them of their parents’ love. Look at this precious mother-and-daughter bracelet set, personalized with your daughter’s name.
- Blanket – Big brothers or sisters can wrap up in a cozy personalized blanket to remember how loved they are. This beautiful, soft blanket is personalized with the child’s name and reads, “We love you to the moon and back.”
- Book – This sweet storybook, You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan, celebrates how special it is to be the oldest child. It walks through all the things the oldest child was the first to do, even if another sibling comes along.
Gifts that Help Include Siblings in “Parenting”
Heather Enos-Matheny, a school psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, suggests including older siblings in caring for the new baby by asking them to do small things to help. She does warn, however, to strike “a fine balance so they don’t feel like they are asked to do everything.” These gifts will give the older siblings opportunities to join in the experience of baby care with or alongside you.
- Doll Accessories – Your older child may enjoy imitating the ways you take care of the new baby by taking care of a doll. Of course, if the child does not already have a doll, that would be a place to start! (Here is a list of ideal first baby dolls for toddlers.) But if he or she does, you could gift doll accessories such as a baby carrier, diaper bag with feeding supplies, or bathtub. You could also opt for this realistic set that includes a high chair, play yard, stroller, and bouncer for the baby doll.
- Baby Record Book – Instead of (or in addition to) you keeping a baby book for the new baby, give the responsibility to the big brother or sister. This book is specially made for older siblings to record their observations about the new little sibling. You can start it before the baby has even been born and continue throughout the first year.
- Big Sibling Activities Box – I have uncovered some awesome gifts that give big brothers and sisters prompts for how to prepare for or help with the baby. This big sibling box is full of activity cards that prompt the older sibling with ways to entertain the baby. (If you’re crafty and have the time, I’ll bet you could come up with something like these on your own, too!)
Sibling Gifts that Offer Opportunities for Dedicated Time with Parents
Over and over, experts share the importance of parents continuing to find uninterrupted, special time with the older siblings. Enos-Matheny says that a sudden shift of all the parents’ attention to the newborn can lead to negative behavior. She suggests finding dedicated time for the older siblings to spend with their parents. “It can be as simple as five minutes a day while the baby is sleeping,” she explains. These gifts offer opportunities for older siblings to spend this extremely beneficial time with their parents.
- Coupons – Your kids will be delighted to redeem these printable coupons for little treats and quality family time. From craft time to a family bike ride to a date night with mom or dad, these coupons will give your older child many things to look forward to as they settle into having a new baby at home.
- Quality Time Routine – Before baby comes, give your child a gift that will turn into a weekly or daily quality time routine. For example, maybe you can gift a new board game for Friday game night, or you could gift a journal that the child answers alongside you each night. (This is the journal my 8-year-old daughter had, and it was wonderful!)
- Tickets – Plan ahead for a parent/child date and present the older child with tickets. Maybe you could make a date to see a musical, go to the zoo, or explore a museum. Remember to arrange for childcare for the new baby!
- Supplies to Help Parent – A great way to spend quality time with your older child is to allow him or her to help you with something you enjoy doing. You could, for example, gift your child gardening tools or cooking supplies with the special promise of helping you garden or cook.
No matter what you choose as your big brother or sister gift, your child will be tickled to be thought of and made to feel special during this big, exciting transition in your family’s life.