No matter how badly your older child pined for the new baby, she didn't likely anticipate the double-edged sword of her new playmate being the biggest disruption to her young life thus far. While acceptance phase tantrums and roughhousing are bound to ensue just as your energy and patience hit an all-time low, you can turn frowns to smiles. Focus on fun activities that she can make for the new baby, promoting your sanity and her excitement.
1. Letter and Number Blocks
Kill two birds with one stone by spending quality time practicing letters and numbers with your older child, as he creates a learning tool for the baby. Allow your child to put his favorite number and letter stickers to use somewhere besides his bedroom wall or the bottom of your shoe. He can attach letter and number stickers to square wooden blocks, creating a set of blocks for the baby's toy box. The activity can culminate with you and your older one forming the baby's name in the newly designed letter blocks on a shelf or table in the nursery as a decorative item. While the blocks remain a sentimental gift made by your oldest, they can also provide you with hours of freedom in upcoming years, as both children learn, play, build and destroy together.
2. Photo Projects
Parenting a newborn and a young child might leave you with your hands full and fewer photo opportunities than the first time around as a result. Ensure that both children grow up with an equal amount of pictures to look through by allowing your oldest to help create photo projects for the youngest. She can pretend to be a photographer, taking a variety of pictures of the baby, and she can choose from a selection of family photos, such as sonogram, maternity, hospital and relative photos, with a focus on sibling shots to boost her big sister ego. Your older child can channel her inner Andy Warhol through artsy picture arrangements, such as framed collages, photo cubes, albums and a baby book.
3. Personalized Clothing
Relish in gaining the cool mom award and in not having to discipline your oldest child for destroying clothing just this one time. Let him go wild with the design medium of his choice from fabric paints or markers to tie-dye and decals, all in the name of the new baby. This activity might provide a way for improving upon any gaudy baby clothes you received, allowing your older one to re-purpose it for a personalized gift for his sibling. Your child can pick from a number of garments such as onesies, T-shirts, socks or hats, adding the baby's name, his own handprints, an abstract or scenic design or a phrase like "Best Little Brother," or "Sweetest Sis." The older sibling can make a matching garment with a similar design and both kids can step out into the world wearing their matching gear on the same day.
4. Video Journal
Put your older child's attention-seeking behaviors to use while creating a bit of nostalgia and blackmail to bribe her with during the cumbersome teenage years. Your oldest might be craving the limelight in the midst of her new sibling's arrival, so allow her to ham it up live on camera. Your future Hollywood actress can enjoy pretending to be a reporter, singer, dancer or comedian, sharing her finest moments on film. One day, she might decide to focus on the baby by filming footage of the nursery or baby, while the next day she decides to boost her ego by singing her favorite song or telling facts about herself. She can get her individualized time in with you through humorous interviews that leave you all giggling about the new baby tasks such as diaper changing, feeding and bath time. Such an activity can have lasting sentimental value when siblings view it together later in life.