How to Use Books to Prepare Your Kids for a New Sibling
Welcoming a new child into your family is an amazing and completely life-altering event, and one of the most powerful tools available for your family to prepare is books. Reading books with your older child gives you a chance to connect, ask and answer questions, as well as have some really important one-on-one time.
Before I list my favorite books to prepare your family for a new baby, here are four tips to help you make the most of reading them:
- Start reading these books as soon as possible. I understand wanting to feel confident in the viability of the pregnancy before announcing anything to a young child, but you can introduce the idea of families welcoming a new baby before sitting down to tell your child the great news.
- Pre-read these books to find which ones will fit your family. Every family is different, and depending on the ages of your children, one book may be spot-on while another could be so far off-base that something wonderful could become confusing.
- Once you have found books that fit well with your family, read them often. This gives your child a safe space to ask questions and, as the pregnancy progresses, new questions will pop up, so offering multiple opportunities in a quiet, focused space will help everyone prepare.
- Don't stop reading just because the baby has arrived. The adjustment to a new baby is just beginning. After the baby has arrived, one-on-one time with an older sibling cuddled up on a big chair or before bed will be even more special. Fit some of these books in with other family favorites to keep the dialogue open.
Here are eight great books for you to check out if your family is expecting a new addition.
- The Berenstain Bears' New Baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain. This gentle book is a classic and a wonderful way to start introducing the idea of a new baby to toddlers and preschoolers.
- I'm a Big Brother by Joanna Cole. This book is a great overview of what it's like to be a brand new big brother. It's simple but thorough.
- I'm a Big Sister by Joanna Cole. This is identical to I'm A Big Brother with the only change being that the main character is a new big sister.
- What's in Your Tummy Mummy? by Sam Lloyd. This book is a simple lift-the-flap book geared towards toddlers who aren't ready for specifics but are wondering exactly what Mommy has in her tummy.
- Back Into Mommy's Tummy by Thierry Robberecht. This is a unique look at an older child's fear about losing the strong bond with mom when a new baby arrives.
- Baby on the Way by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christine Watts. This book dives into what is happening to an expectant mother in kid terms. My son loved it when he was 3 and I was expecting.
- What Baby Needs by William Sears, Martha Sears, and Christine Watts. This book continues where Baby on the Way leaves off, going into more detail about the changes a baby brings.
- Michael and His New Baby Brother by Sarah, Duchess of York. This is another book that focuses on life after a baby comes home and is great for the older sibling who is not interested in all the more intimate parts of pregnancy and childbirth.
Do you have a favorite book that helped your family prepare for a new baby? Let's talk about it! Drop us a line on the Scholastic Parents Facebook Page.