Dear Savvy Auntie,

Do you have any advice as to how to handle the arrival of a new niece or nephew? My nephew will be five when his new little bother or sister arrives. He is the only grandson/nephew/godson in the family and to say he has gotten our undivided attention is an understatement! He is a very well behaved little boy but I'm still concerned about what his reaction might be to sharing the spotlight.

Baby Makes Two

Dear Baby Makes Two,

You can start telling him he is your special boy and do special activities with him that you continue once the baby arrives. Ask his parents if it all right with them if you buy tiny token gifts they can give him if people buy a gift only for the baby.

The most important piece of advice is to be “real!” So, many adults crow and coo about being a big brother and a wee baby when the reality is usually minimal; brand new babies are hardly “sisters or brothers” to play with or be pleased about. They take up a great deal of attention, cry, and sleep.  So, follow his lead which may be minimal interest and more need to be babyish himself. A great activity, if he seems regressed, is to show him his baby photos and to play baby with him. Here’s where the crowing and cooing come in…reminisce with him about his baby days…little “toesies”, burps, and sweet smiles. Don’t worry he will return to being the “big boy” who eats ice cream, watches TV, and plays with friends.

Since your nephew is five years old and goes to school he has his own world and that, in and of itself, will help him deal with having a new sibling. Can you suggest that his parents tell his teacher(s) when the baby is born so they can be sensitive to any changes in his demeanor as well as celebrate with his school friends?

There are many books on the market; so, I suggest you take a look and see which ones you favor. My favorite is “That New Baby”, by Sarah Bonnett Stein. It has realistic photos and text for the adult as well as the child.

Good Luck,
Natalie Robinson Garfield

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