Reading for the Expectant Older Sibling

Photo Credit: KM Photo

Wendy Lias, LSW

This week I was supervising one of my son’s Zoom classes when the teacher pointed out that a friend in class was wearing a t-shirt that read “BIG BROTHER.” The little boy explained that he was waiting, at that very moment, for news that his new sibling had been born. His excitement was contagious and I was transported right back to this time three years ago when I was preparing my own son for the birth of a new sibling. In my house, a huge part of the preparation was reading a plethora of children’s book to my son about what it means to add a new baby to your family. At the time I pretty much snapped up all the books on the topic; but after being asked to read them aloud innumerable times, I became more discerning. Now I fancy myself something of a connoisseur on baby books that add value to the experience and will still feel tolerable even after several readings.

Favorite Overall: Babies Don’t Eat Pizza

Babies Don’t Eat Pizza by Dianne Danzig is adorable and even funny at times, while still providing a lot of helpful information about the baby that is going to be joining your family.  The book covers topics from baby’s arrival to how newborns spend most of their time to the complicated feelings that a child might have about welcoming a baby into their home.  The book addresses a lot and if it’s difficult for your child to sit through reading the book in its entirety, you will definitely benefit from the fact that each topic is divided by headers within the book.  You can stop and start again with ease. 

Favorite for Dealing with Rivalrous Feelings: On Mother’s Lap

On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott tells the story of a little boy who can make room for himself and all of his toys in his mother’s lap; but when the baby in the house rouses and wants to be held, the little boy does not feel like there is room.  Spoiler alert: in case, there is always room in that mother’s lap.  This is a very sweet story to read with a child who might be feeling a squeezed out by the arrival of a new sibling.  The illustrations by Glo Coalson are soft and lovely and really complement the overall loving and cozy feel of the narrative.

Favorites for Addressing the Biology of Baby-Having: What Makes a Baby and It’s Not the Stork

What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg does a great job of delivering the basics on eggs, sperm, gestation, and birth.  The vibrant illustrations by Fiona Smyth are terrific.  If you have a child who is wondering about where the baby came from in the first place, this is a nice place to start. 

Now, if the child that you’re reading to is even more curious about the physical differences between the sexes or has questions about how the sperm and the egg came to find each other in the first place, It’s Not the Stork by Robie H. Harris is worth picking up. 

Favorite for Tandem Reading: Wonderful You

Looking for something to read to while you cradle your new baby while simultaneously reminding your older child just how remarkable his or her own arrival was? Grab Lisa Graff’s Wonderful You!  The book celebrates how beloved your child is and has been, starting from the time when he or she was only the size of a sweet pea.  The illustrations by Ramona Kaulitzki are beautiful and embrace the fact that families are diverse and do not all look the same. 

Honorable Mentions:

Lots of my favorite children’s collections include books about welcoming a sibling.  These books to be more generic and don’t answer nearly as many questions.  Of course, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t perfectly delightful.  Books that fall into this category include Angelina’s Baby Sister (Angelina Ballerina), The Berenstain Bears’ New Baby and The Berenstain Bears and Baby Makes Five, and The New Baby (Little Critter).

What have you read and loved?  Which excellent books escaped our attention?  Come find us on Facebook and Instagram to share your thoughts.

Aggression and Young Children: A Father’s Struggle

by Dr. Corinne Masur

Recently I read on a parenting blog that if children show aggression it’s because they are in discomfort.

Is this really so?

And while we’re at it, what do we mean when we speak of aggression in the toddler or the young child? Are we talking about anger? Tantrums? Hitting and biting? All of these? Or more?

Defining our terms could be helpful before starting this discussion. Continue reading