I have been wondering lately how Raccoon will do with the new baby, once he figures out that she's here to stay. I hope to continue adding to this blog post as I find new ideas. So far, most of the ones I've come across have been for the first day, or at most week.
* Make sure you're not holding the baby the first time the older sibling sees you at the clinic, or when you come home
* Have a gift exchange between him/her and the new baby
* Expose your child to other newborns or young babies before your baby's birth
* Involve the older child in the baby's care (helping wipe, etc), or provide them with their own baby to change and feed
* Make the older child your helper (bring diapers, wipes, blanket, toys, etc)
* Let him or her be "the baby" for a while too with extra cuddles
* Tell the baby he/she has to wait a minute while you help your older child (from the book, Siblings Without Rivalry)
(Sorry, I can't remember where I saw all of these ideas, some are probably from BabyCenter, but they're not mine.)
These are some additional things I've thought of preparing ahead of time for the first month when I will be recovering from giving birth and (hopefully!) spending a lot of time in bed or resting:
* Activities Raccoon can do with me while I'm lying down - reading books, imaginary play, stickers, coloring/cutting, baggies with surprises
* Activities we can do while baby Robin nurses - play doh, trampoline (him not us!), snack time
* Things we can do with baby Robin (towards 1 m+)- bathtime with Raccoon in tub and her in a bouncy chair, tummy time, walks
And finally, there are things I hope to do to help them be friends as they grow up.
* Play together as a family
* Help them find common ground and things to enjoy together
* Communicate as a family
* Read Siblings Without Rivalry (I've seen some excerpts but want to read the whole book)
My only brother is 2.5 years older than I am, but we are different in so many ways that it was hard to find things we both liked to do. In elementary school, we played together some, mostly things like Monopoly, Legoes, and watching cartoons on Saturdays. Once he hit middle and high school, the gap between us grew and since then we've each had our separate lives. Books, movies and our parents were (and are) pretty much our only common ground.
I think each generation does the best it can, and I know that I'll make many mistakes (and already have) as a parent. But hopefully with each generation there is improvement, too. With Raccoon and Robin, my prayer is that they will talk to each other, trust each other, and have a strong bond that will last into their adult years.