All parents appreciate the generous gifts that friends and family
bestow when a new baby joins the family. But when there is an older
sibling at home, sometimes the best gift is a "big brother" or "big
Older siblings often feel left out because of all the attention
devoted to the new baby. Plus, mom and dad are likely exhausted
from caring for a newborn, and those siblings might not be getting
all the attention they are accustomed to. A thoughtful gift can be
just the thing to make an older child feel special.
When Ellen MacEntee of LaGrange welcomed her second child in
June 2008, she appreciated when visitors came with a small gift for
her toddler daughter.
"I think big sister/brother gifts remind the older sibling that
people are still thinking about them when so much attention is
being lavished on the baby. It is such a hard transition and
recognizing the big sisters and brothers helps include them in the
celebration," she says.
What to give
Some local shop owners have noticed a trend toward people buying
"sibling" gifts to pair with presents for a new baby.
Marlo Hoffman, co-owner of Psycho Baby children's store in
Bucktown, recommends gift-givers keep the following guidelines in
mind when selecting a present for an older sibling of a new
• "Choose something children can play with independently
because it establishes the fact that they are 'older' than their
little sibling, and it gives mama a break when she is feeding the
baby," Hoffman says.
• For toddlers, Hoffman suggests gifts that inspire
creative play. Good options include dress-up clothes like a
superhero cape or princess outfit. For bigger brothers and sisters,
give an activity book that kids can complete independently-such as
a write-your-own comic or design-your-own-wardrobe kit.
• If in doubt, Hoffman says, "Go with a classic 'big
brother' T-shirt and book combo."
Big brother or big sister gifts don't have to be expensive or
elaborate to be a big hit with an older sibling and the exhausted
parents of a newborn. Sometimes the best present is the gift of
time, rest or a home-cooked meal.
"For me the perfect present was a small gift for the new baby, a
kid-friendly meal and an offer to host a kids-only play date with
my older son so I could get some rest," says second-time mom
Genevieve Hoffman of Chicago.
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