As much as we’re always seeking knowledge when it comes to having a new baby—from birthing to the terrible twos to growth charts and behavior management—we often need help with our older children as well. When I was a child, I remember resenting my parents something awful when they brought home not one but two little sisters, two years apart. I was six when my middle sister was born and I did not
want siblings. I was perfectly happy being the only child and getting 100% of the attention. I don’t remember talking about it much with my parents or babysitters, except for voicing my own opposition.
It is pretty important, however, to discuss new babies with older children, even they act like they’re perfectly okay with having a new brother or sister. They need to be reassured that they will still be loved as well as cared for, but that the new baby will demand quite a bit of attention. It will also be unable to play for a long time. It can be pretty difficult for younger children to grasp this concept.
One way to help explain is through the use of age-appropriate children’s books, such as Froggy’s Baby Sister. In the book, Froggy, a sweet, spunky little frog who is full of energy, is excited about his mother’s pregnancy. He hopes that she will give birth to a boy whom he can teach to swim, play soccer, and have fun with. He is very disappointed when the baby is a girl (he even says, “Yuck!”), and he just can’t understand why he can’t feed her flies or take care of her himself.
He quickly adjusts, however, and is excited about his baby sister. He wants to teach the baby, Polly, how to play on a pogo stick, jump off a swing, and play in the pond—but she is just a baby and too little to do any of those things. Even more frustrated, Froggy declares he is tired of waiting for her to grow up, so he’s moving in with his friend and “never coming back!” I remember telling my mother that when my sisters were born, too.
But right before he leaves, he discovers that Polly, no longer a tadpole, has grown legs. He is excited about her again and starts to help take care of her. She quickly grows attached to her big brother, and he grows attached to her as well. All of that waiting paid off.
Young kids will delight in sharing their experiences with this young frog and his baby sister. His story will help them realize just how worth it is to wait for little babies to get bigger—and how wonderful it is to be loved and depended on as an older sibling.