With less than two months to go, I thought it was time to get serious about prepping for baby #2, and part of that prep includes making Ez understand as much as he possibly can before we shock his little world with a new brother. To be honest, I don't think anything besides experience can really prep him for what's it's like to live with a baby, day in and day out. I know reading about newborns didn't fully prepare me for the reality of having one. But I still want him to have as much understanding as possible, so off to the library and Barnes & Noble we went. While all of these are specifically geared toward big brothers, they each have a big sister counterpart by the same author.
1. I Have a Brother
This is a super simple to understand book that compares what it's like to be little with what big brothers can do (ie - "My brother wears diapers. When I was little I wore diapers too.") Technically Ez will still be in diapers when the new baby gets here, but it does make the big bro feel special because he's able to do so much more than baby. There's only one sentence per page with very simple illustrations, which makes it perfect for short attention spans.
2. I Am a Big Brother
This is one of my favorites for young kids for a few reasons. For one, it's a board book, which is great for Ez's destructive little hands. It keeps things simple with only 1-2 sentences per page. It rhymes. It talks a lot about the big brother's role (ie - "If baby wakes with cranky cries, I softly sing sweet lullabies") and I'm a fan of playing up the sibling relationship and their interaction, even while baby is still too young to actually play.
3. I'm a Big Brother
This book is slightly more advanced than the other two, and talks a little more about the practicalities of having a new baby in the house, but at the same time it's not too complicated or wordy. It talks about how babies cry to tell us something, or how you have to ask mommy before holding or touching the baby. Like the others, there's also an emphasis on all the things big bro can do that baby can't, like walking, talking, and eating pizza. I also like that it emphasizes that big bro is always going to be special because "I'm the only me in the whole wide world."
4. Big Brothers Are the Best
While the wording and structure are very simple in this book, I think it would work best for kids a little older than Ez's age, maybe 3 and up, because it talks about helping by putting on the baby's socks or burping the baby. Unfortunately Ez doesn't even put his own socks yet, so I don't see that happening, but if he were at that age this would be a great book for him. I also like that while it has the "I'm a big bro so I can do all kinds of cool stuff" theme, it also points out that big bros aren't too big to snuggle with mommy or ride on daddy's back. So true! I definitely don't want the snuggles to stop anytime soon.
5. I'm a New Big Brother
Like all of these books, the real emphasis is on how big brother can help once baby arrives. "I hold you gently. I push you in the stroller. I read to you." etc. It really plays up the sibling relationship, and all the ways baby will depend on big bro once he/she gets here. Since Ez is really at a "helpful" stage, where he wants to copy whatever we're doing and help out with chores, this is a great angle to play up with him.
The reason I like these 5 books in particular for kids in the 2-4 range is that they are simple to understand, and mainly focus on including big brother and helping him take on this new role, instead of focusing on all the negative aspects that having a newborn around might entail. While there is some mention of baby crying, or needing to be quiet when baby is sleeping, there's also emphasis on still being loved and special, and that now there's a new person in the family who will love big brother too.
Other books I looked at, including Baby on the Way by Martha and William Sears, deal a little more with the pregnancy aspect of bring home a new baby, such as talking about how mommy will need to rest more, or her tummy might hurt as if she'd "eaten too much soda and cake" (which she may have!), and I really wish I could make Ez understand all that. Unfortunately I think the comprehension level is a little higher than 2 years. According to Amazon, the age range for the Sears book is 3-6 years.
Did you introduce the idea of a new baby through books with your first child? Do you think it had any impact? And which books were their favorites? Always looking for tips and recommendations on how to make the new sibling transition easier on a two year old!
Happy almost Mother's Day to all the moms! Hope you get lots of extra love, snuggles, and treats this weekend :)