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Transitions: How to be a Big Brother or Sister

You get the most amazing news that you’re on the way to having a second child, and all of a sudden, your mind is filled with stress on how your first born is going to react!  

So many of us go through this wave of feeling when having the second child.  Its normal to feel stressed about this new change because let’s be honest it is a big adjustment for the first born. More often than not, they are too little to truly understand the magnitude of change that is about to hit them.

So, what is the best thing to do in this situation?  

It’s much simpler than you think – prepare, prepare, prepare! 

Prepare yourself, prepare your first born, prepare your home! Get everyone and ready for the big change. Let’s focus here on how to prepare your child.  

  1. First and foremost, read some of the many wonderful story books about being a sibling and welcoming a new baby. 

These are some of my favourites: 

  • Babies don’t eat pizza: A big kids book about baby brothers and sisters by Diana Danzig 
  • The new baby by Mercer Mayer 
  • My new Baby by Rachel Fuller 
  • You were the first by Patricia Maclachlan 
  • A new baby is coming! A guide for a big brother or sister: By Emily Menendez-Aponte 
  • The Berenstain Bears new baby by Stan and Jan Berenstain 
  • Baby on the way by Martha and William Sears 
  • Mamas Belly by Kate Hosford 
  • What brothers do best and what sisters do best by Laura Numeroff 
  • I’m a big brother and I’m a big sister by Joanna Cole 


1. Then as the curiosity is sparked, tell them how amazing you think they would be when their turn came to be an older sibling. Introduce in your chats, the most positive happy aspects of being a sibling; Some examples of talk are, “you’ll never be bored or lonely”, “you will have someone to play and share your things with”, “you will be able to share their new things and you will be always looked up to and admired by this human being who will know nothing but adoration for you.”  

As you get their excitement going, you break the wonderful news. From there on, have them be part of the big changes before the baby arrives, take them along if you are doing some major shopping like the stroller or the baby’s first outfit. Have them pick out some toys or something special that older sibling can gift the baby. Even if they are too little to understand, talk and share as much as you can.  


2. When the big day arrives, ensure they are part of all the pictures and celebrations, and ensure they get to spend as much time with you as possible. As much as you may need to feed and look after the new baby, it’s imperative the first few weeks are focused on the older one. This will ensure they will secure and comfortable about the arrival of the new sibling and hence lead to more stability in their response.  


3. Expect there to be some kind of frustration and jealousy, and try and talk them through it as much as possible. 

Let them know that even though now mummy has another baby to look after, they will forever and always, be your first born.  

Remind them that no one and nothing can ever change or replace that! 

Adding a new ‘dynamic’ to your household can be a big change at first, but it can be a welcomed change that is embraced by all family members.  


Sijyl Ghias 

Head of Early Years at JINS Palm Jumeirah