Older siblings typically have mixed feelings about the arrival of a new family member: children often like the idea that they will be bigger and more capable than the baby, but they also know that they will no longer be the centre of the parents’ attention. This can cause regressing (asking for a bottle, for example) in order to regain the attention they feel they are losing. A baby shower can become the perfect opportunity to reassure an upcoming big brother or sister that they are still important in the family equation. Here are a few great ways to put an expectant sibling front and centre in the baby shower.
Ask your child to help you make the invitations
If your child is old enough to draw, you can suggest they make a picture of themselves with their future brother or sister. When you make colour copies of their art and use it on the invitation cards, be sure to let your child see them. Everyone feels important when their creative work is published.
Surprise your child with a special t-shirt
Baby stores often feature child-sized shirts that say, “I’m going to be a big sister!” (or brother). You can even order a custom-made one online. Children will be proud to show off their shirt to baby shower guests.
Make a big brother or sister “kit”
Each guest can be asked to contribute a small gift item that reflects the upcoming sibling relationship. Ideas for this kit include: a “big sister” or “big brother” badge, a book about welcoming new babies into the family, a single-use camera for the child to take photos of the baby and perhaps a sponge or tub toy for the sibling to use when helping bathe the baby. Encourage guests to be creative.
Have a “wishing cake” at the shower
Most baby showers feature a fancy cake, and this is likely to attract the interest of your older child. Include their name or a little cartoon of them in the cake decorations, and encourage them to make a wish on behalf of their new sister or brother. Blowing out candles is a good way to formalize the wishing ceremony.
Tuck a few spare gifts in the closet
Buy and wrap a few special older-child gifts ahead of time and put them away in a closet. That way, you’ll have something on hand if your guests overlook your suggestions.
The bond between siblings is a powerful one, and those early uncertainties are usually quickly forgotten. When you focus on helping your older child feel that the role of big sister or brother is special and important, you will foster the early roots of a lifelong closeness.