Sibling Rivalry – The New Baby

“Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring – quite often the hard way.”

– Pamela Dugdale

When the new guy comes to town

These books have helped spark discussion with our eldest during the transition from becoming a single child to a big brother.

Thanks to these stories, Calamus has been able to voice his fears and frustrations. Now, he refers to Nikolai as ‘my baby.’

Thanks, books!

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Take it one day at a time

Adjusting through the tumult of a new arrival is a rocky adventure – but one day, two kids will be the new normal. It gets easier. I promise.

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When will we bring him back to the hospital?

A book bin for Bigs and their brand-new Littles

For Ages 1 through 5

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Maple (Nichols)

The first book in the Maple & Willow series, Maple is about a little girl who grows along with a tree planted when she was born. Maple enjoys her tree throughout changing seasons, and greets the birth of her new little sister in the perfect way. This short book is adorable and the perfect read for littles with a new baby.

Ages 2+

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Too Small for Honey Cake (Lobel & Braun)

Calamus’s pick for big kids with infant (non-mobile) siblings

Little fox is jealous over all the attention his little brother requires and acts out. Thanks to acceptance and guidance from his dad, Little Fox learns how to express his anger in a better way and finds some of the perks of being a big brother.

This book gets extra points for showing dad as a competent caregiver – a rare dynamic in storybooks.

Ages 2+

dashed_line_2ptLola Reads to Leo (McQuinn & Beardshaw)

The Lola series is about a little girl and her love of books. Continuing on that theme, Lola brings her love of stories and shows big sisters and brothers the role they can play in caring for a baby sibling.

Each page features some of the hardest parts of juggling a newborn and a little kid, and serves as a visual example of how to get through this first year together.

The story is a little dry, but this is still one of the best books for big siblings out there.

Ages 2.5+

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Hello baby! (Rockwell)

Lizzy Rockwell’s illustrations creep me out, but Calamus doesn’t seem to mind them.

Either way, this is a great science book for preschoolers on what to expect living with a newborn.

Seriously though – look at those terrifying melon-headed children!

Ages 4+

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What Baby Wants (Root & Barton)

Calamus’s pick for big brothers with screaming little siblings

Best for big brothers, Calamus loved this in those early months when his little brother spent 90% of his waking moments screaming. This book was instrumental in giving Calamus a sense of control over the chaos of having a new baby (his baby) in the family.

The whole family tries everything to calm down the baby – but only his big brother knows how to soothe him.

Ages 2+

If you like this book, also check out Kitty’s Cuddles by Jane Cabrera (ages 18m+). It’s a simpler story for younger kids about the love between a big and a little sibling.

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Monster in the House (Kleven)

For older kids capable of understanding metaphorical language and symbolism, this book has a fun surprise at the end when we find out the monster described by the girl next door is really a…

OK, I’ll let you figure that one out yourself.

Ages 4+

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Look at Me! (Fuller)

Calamus’s pick for siblings with short age gaps

It’s tough to find books for the under-2 crowd that educate without boring. Look at Me! is the third book in Rachel Fuller’s New Baby series of illustration-only books created for children with very small age gaps.

If you pick up only one book your kids with a short age gap (2.5 years and smaller), this is the one to get. We read it weekly in the months before and after the birth of our youngest.

If you request the titles in this series from the library, make sure to choose the 2009-2010 publications by Rachel Fuller instead of the 2000 version by Annie Kubler. The books cover the same illustration-only topics, but Fuller’s families feature multiple races and more engaging illustrations.

Ages 12-25 months

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Bonus Book for Parents

Siblings Without Rivalry (Faber & Mazlish)

This book was a boring, painful, redundant, and extremely useful resource.

It’s the go-to guide for raising siblings for a reason. Faber & Mazlish are great at teaching  parents to stop unwittingly pitting siblings against each other. They are also terrible writers.

If you don’t want to read this book full of great ideas and cringe-worthy writing, go ahead and visit a website summary to save yourself some time and agony. I found one here for ya.

For Grown-ups (and teen caretakers)

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If you enjoyed this post, you can find more Books for Littles Book Bins here.
Join Books for Littles on Facebook  (Facebook group link), where the group is still going strong with other contributors.
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When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

 – Henry Ford

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Leave a comment below – which books are helping you get through your first year as a second (or third or fifth or whatever) -time parent?