The joy new babies bring to families is undeniable, But the adjustment can be difficult for their older sisters and brothers. This is especially true when they see this new addition to the family getting showered in gifts.
Including them in the excitement, and gifting them with a present will help them feel included and involved. Jealousy can occur through this huge change in their life. Remind the older sibling that no one will love them any less because of this new little one.
But picking out gifts for siblings of a new baby can be tricky. That's why we're sharing the gift-giving tips we've learned over the years in this article.
Learn Who the Older Sibling Is as an Individual
Gifting is a beautiful opportunity to learn more about a child's traits, preferences, and other nuances that make them who they are.
If you're unsure about what to get, ask questions. Learn their interests. Find out what inspires them. See if there are any toys or activities that the older siblings have recently asked for.
But if you already know some things about them, like their favourite superhero, pay special attention to that when shopping for gifts.
Kids will feel special if you show them you remember what they like and who they are despite the new addition to the family.
It can also help reduce sibling tension during the holidays. Gifts reflect the person who gives them; they show that you still care about the older child even after the new baby is born. And the new big brother or sister will deeply appreciate this.
Use the Four-Gift Rule
When you give a child a gift, it's seen as a well-meaning gesture. And it is. But when a child receives too many presents from well-meaning adults, that child may not appreciate those toys as much.
That's why it helps to use the four-gift rule. This gift-giving strategy involves giving children four presents:
- One they need
- One they want
- One to wear
- One to read
For the want gift, buy something that interests the child. The need present is something practical, such as toiletries or a toy that will aid in the development of a skill. The wear gift is clothing, accessories, or shoes. Lastly, the read gift can be an exciting book or comic.
Using this rule allows the big brother or sister to get multiple gifts and not feel left out. But you won't overwhelm the new older sibling by giving them too many things at once.
Avoid Only Choosing Productive Gifts
If you're fixed on buying one present, we suggest choosing a gift that is fun rather than useful. Children want gifts to surprise and excite them. If a gift is only useful, such as pens and notebooks for school, there's a chance that it won't be appreciated for very long.
It's important to remember that a new older sibling is so overwhelmed at the beginning of the baby's arrival that they will respond better to something entertaining.
Make sure your gift has an element of fun attached to it! For example, it would be disappointing to open up workbooks while watching a new baby get lavished with play mats and toys.
Remember that you are trying to prevent sibling jealousy, not increase it.
Pick Gifts That Suit Their Capability, Not Their Age
The best gifts are ones that fit a child's capabilities. This means you may need to think beyond age guidelines.
For example, a six-year-old child might have an exciting time with a puzzle rated for 10 -year-olds but be bored with a toy for three-year-olds.
Still, you should avoid giving a gift too sophisticated. It can foster feelings of inadequacy in the new older sibling.
To help you figure out what toys the child is ready for, here are some tips from child development experts:
Younger children, especially the 18-month-old to the 36-month old set, tend to like toys with a cause-and-effect nature. So look for toys that feature interactive components such as turning switches and activating lights or sounds.
Preschool to kindergarten-aged children tend to enjoy toys and games that inspire roleplay. Give a toddler toys that are true-to-life representations of everyday objects, like computers and costumes.
Get Them a New Friend
A toy that the older sibling can cuddle with and call their own is always a good bet to buy. Stuffed animals and dolls are perfect for this.
For example, Bonnie is a lovely hand-crocheted bunny made from 100% organic cotton stuffed with recycled material. It's a soft and cuddly pal designed to love and be loved. Toys like this guarantee that the older sibling will always have a friend to offer warmth and comfort during their transition.
Certainly, a new friend will come in handy when mom and dad are handling the new baby and the older sibling is seeking some attention and affection.
When you deliver the gift, please spend some time explaining what it is and why it's special. Give the older sibling a reason to place sentimental value on their present. It helps them bond with the toy much faster.
Choose Gifts They Can Share
If you're buying a gift for an older sibling and a new baby, select something that will bring delight to both. These can be cosy pajamas that match or twin teddy bears.
Be sure to let them know that the gift is for them to enjoy together.
Not only will these gifts be cherished by both children, but they will also give the siblings a common interest to bond over.
Help Them Be a Good Older Sibling
The best way you can help an older sibling adjust is by giving gifts that will help them become more responsible and bond the love between them and their new sibling. Roleplaying toys, such as doctor sets, can be especially useful for this.
The new big brother or sister can learn empathy and nurturing skills as they roleplay a life with their little sibling. Or the present can help them play out their emotions and decisions in a safe, non judgmental manner.
Pick Presents That Parents Will Approve Of
Some families prefer to limit their children's exposure to certain types of toys, for example, screen time and small parts.
When a new baby arrives, it's often the older child who must develop better social and friendship skills. Toys with small parts could be more hard work for parents, constantly making sure no there are no choking hazards. Many parents like to limit the amount of "screen" time and technology play, so always double check when buying a gadget.
That's why it's best to pick gifts that encourage friendlier ways to play, like dolls or building blocks.
Use Family Values as a Roadmap for the Perfect Present
Before shopping for gifts for a new sibling, please speak with the parents about what they value and look for toys that reflect their ideals.
Let's say you want to get a plastic toy, but the family is environmentally conscious. Well, you could make a toy from things around your house instead of buying it new, or buy second hand.
Get Gifts That Celebrate the Older Sibling's New Role
Help the first-time big brother or sister feel important by showcasing their new role. For example, you could have a photo of the child holding their newborn sibling in the baby's bedroom.
Clothes or toys that proclaim their new status can also help them feel celebrated.
These kinds of presents remind older siblings that they haven't been replaced but instead given a promotion.
Provide an Opportunity for Quality Time With the Parents
A new baby makes some children feel displaced in their parents' affections. Therefore, it's essential to make sure their gifts convey their importance in the family.
Gifts that give the new big brother or sister a chance to spend time with mom and dad will be greatly appreciated by both parties.
It's an excellent plan to buy a simple meal that the older sibling can share with the parents. Presents like this promote family bonding while taking some of the focus off of the new baby.
Opt For Environmentally-Friendly Presents
Usually, presents for children mean lots of excess packaging and waste. So when shopping for a new big sibling's gifts, consider the environment and opt for presents that won't end up in a landfill, like food or biodegradable bags.
Not only are you helping the environment, but you could be teaching a lesson on sustainability to the new big brother or sister. They can later pass this knowledge on to the family's latest addition.
Experiment With Sustainable Gift Ideas
Now it's time to hit the stores! (Or your pantry if you prefer to DIY.)
With the rise in popularity of sustainable toys, choosing eco-friendly presents is easier than ever. Here are some gift ideas that are good for the planet:
Toys Without Batteries
If you want to get them something fun and practical at the same time, eco-friendly toys that run on kinetic or solar power are a great choice. There are plenty of options that encourage learning about nature, science, photography and anything else you can think of. Perfect for keeping young minds occupied and providing their parents with some peace.
Organic Bath Bombs
Bath bombs are a great gift for big siblings. Natural bath bombs can also be used in the bath with baby and new big brother or sister. They'll love watching the colours appear in the water! Plus, the whole room will smell fresh and clean.
Bath toys are also a gift that kids can enjoy with their new little sibling during water play.
If you're looking for the best eco-friendly choice, bath bombs from The Green Mumma are all-natural and cruelty-free. And they're so pretty, too!
Inspire kids to bring their imaginations to life with a wooden playset. They are the perfect combination of a toy and a décor piece. Look for homes made from sustainably harvested wood with unique decals.
Not only will an older brother or sister love this, but they'll really enjoy role playing and can act out their own beautiful stores with it.
Soft toy or dolls
A big brother or sister may be eager to help out with the new baby but may not know the basics of caregiving. Choose a baby doll, or cuddly toy as a training gift, to help the older brother or sister get ready for their new sibling.
You can find all-natural and ethically made dolls for children at Etsy and Amazon.
We recommend choosing a doll with the same caregiving elements visible on babies, like a removable diaper and a one-piece outfit.
The doll should also be able to withstand the inevitable drops and drags from its owner. Dolls made with durable materials like wood or cloth are perfect for this.
Reassure the older sibling that there's enough love to go around with a heartwarming and relatable tale. You can even customize the storybook with the big sibling's name and picture. Plus, add a character for the baby too. Both siblings will be on the cover, which is sure to make the big sister or brother eager to meet the new addition.
Now, books do require a lot of paper for production. So if you are going this route, choose books with environmental messaging, like The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.
Instead of sugar-laden candies, you could consider purchasing fair-trade chocolate bars or making homemade sugar cookies. If you're feeling ambitious, you could even make some candy from scratch.
In either case, serve the sweets as a gift to the new big kid in the family. It will remind them that because they are older, they have the opportunity to experience activities that their little sibling can't.
Eco-friendly gift baskets are great for any occasion and age group. You can make your own or pick up a ready-made one.
It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something fun and thoughtful.
If you're looking for a basket to encourage bonding, The Green Mumma offers a twin gift basket that comes with matching items. The basket contains gifts meant to connect the older sibling with their new little brother or sister, including a teething ring and matching bibs. While the older child may not find everything useful, they will still enjoy playing with the stuffed animal and other items that match those given to the younger sibling.
Although they aren't striking, homemade products are easy, practical and less wasteful. Make some homemade perfume, soap, and lotion as gifts for big sister. On the other hand, the new big brother may appreciate handmade airplanes or salt dough snakes.
A certificate and badge to present to the new sibling. My son was absolutely thrilled with his certificate, infact it still stands in pride of place on his shelf in his room!
A handmade New big brother or sister "helpers" chart is a great way of including them, they can earn stickers or treats for helping mummy and daddy with the baby.
Don't throw away the idea of buying used. Thrift stores have lots of fun games and stylish clothes for kids. Plus, giving pre-loved items to siblings of a new baby will help reduce pollution and save money.
Just remember to clean your purchases to prevent spreading germs thoroughly.
If you are in the market for something brand new, look for items made from recycled materials. For example, a notebook made from recycled paper can help the new big sister or brother express their feelings about the transition.
Instead of giving material gifts, offer an exciting play date – tickets to a fair, a movie, or a museum. It'll be a unique gift to the big brother or sister, so they won't feel like it's yet another thing they must share with their new sibling. This is also a lovely thing to do for the new parents, giving them time with the new baby.
You may also find that it's a good idea to let them pick where they want to go. This will make the older sibling feel important and like part of the family. Send pictures afterwards so they can remember the day. If you don't live nearby, send them a gift card to their favourite restaurant or theme park.
My summary, there's no right or wrong answer when deciding what to get the siblings of a new baby. But we hope that our guide can help you in your process of choosing just the right gift!
Ultimately, we just want every new older sibling to celebrate this momentous occasion with a meaningful and sustainable present.
Choosing eco-friendly toys is easy if you take the time to carefully select them. Luckily, there are plenty of environmentally safe options to choose from.
If you know anyone who just got a new sibling, you should check out The Green Mumma's inventory for creative and fun presents that will help you have a positive impact on the environment.
Hopefully, this guide will help your family find the best gifts out there. Good luck!