Friday, January 15, 2010

Open Letter to Parents of Prospective Siblings

Parents of Prospective Siblings:

Your child is about to become a sibling. That may mean that he or she is no longer an “only”. It may mean that for this child, there is another sibling on the way to take up more of your time, already stretched thin and in much demand.

Please refer to this new addition as our baby.
Please reassure your child that all he has to do is ask for your time with his words and that you will make the time for him, as soon as you are able to.
Please have a present at the hospital visit from the baby for him and he should bring a present for the baby, a present of his own choosing. It can be an old toy that he doesn’t need anymore.
Please reassure him that he doesn’t have to love the baby, until he is ready.
Please reassure him that although people will talk about how cute the baby is, he is a lot more interesting and fun.
Please allow him to help, in any age appropriate way. Getting you a burp cloth or running for a bottle. He may be able to rub lotion on a tummy. Or give some really good help burping.
And please let him sit next to you, while you are feeding the baby. Put on a CD or DVD, or just talk about how much you loved taking care of him when he was a baby, but it’s even more fun now.
Please don’t let him breastfeed or go back to the bottle. No more pacifiers, if they have already been given up. Let him know that some things are meant for babies, only, and some things aren’t.
Please have a doll, whether your child is a boy or a girl, which is suitable for washing and changing when you change your real baby.
Please allow the baby to be held, with supervision, and remember that babies should be kissed on the tops of their heads or bottoms of their feet. Not their hands.
Let your youngster know that he can choose the toys he wants to share, when he is ready, and he doesn’t have to give his toys to the baby. He may use the baby’s toys and books because the baby doesn’t mind sharing (until he does!!).
Please give him plenty of time when you can and you will want to start reading books, right now about babies coming home to live with you and the rest of your family:

Wilbur Waited
Cornelius P. Mud, Are You Ready for a Baby?
Baby Baby blah blah blah!
Vera’s Baby Sister
Peter’s Chair
The New Baby, by Mr. Rogers (it’s at the library)
I’d Rather Have an Iguana
Will There Be a Lap for Me?
Julius, Baby of the World
A Baby Sister for Francis
What Baby Needs

And there are many, many more
Because when a baby comes to your house, it’s a BIG deal and no body wants to be forgotten or overlooked or taken for granted. Babies just take a lot of time and trouble but they don’t have the feelings that their big siblings have. So take care of baby, but make time for the big kids.