Books to prepare toddlers for a new babyPosted: 30/06/2014
A lovely selection of books to help toddlers understand what it means to become a big brother or sister.
Having a baby brother or sister is a big adjustment for most toddlers as there will be a lot that changes in their home life. Reading books together that show these changes is a useful way to help prepare your little one. We have been collecting a few different titles on this topic recently, mainly finds from our local library. These are the ones that both ToddlerGirl and I have been enjoying the most. (NB: includes affiliate links.)
There’s A House Inside My Mummy
Giles Andrae & Vanessa Cabban
This is such a lovely book, explaining to toddlers all about mummy growing a baby inside her. I did have a few tears in my eyes the first couple of times we read it together! It’s told through the eyes of a toddler, so the language is simple and relatable, while the rhyming verse makes it perfect for reading aloud. Real aspects of pregnancy are touched on with gentle humour, such as mummy being very tired, which is a good preparation for little ones. A really sweet, positive story to share during pregnancy.
Topsy and Tim: The New Baby
ToddlerGirl loves Topsy and Tim so when I spotted this at the library, I snapped it up. The baby in the book isn’t a sibling for Topsy and Tim; it’s their friend Tony’s baby brother. But it still introduces some useful talking points, such as why babies cry and how Tony as the big brother can help his mum look after the baby. It’s also nice to see the book showing his mum breastfeeding. The overall message is very positive, with Topsy and Tim commenting at the end that Tony is lucky to have a baby brother – and also how lucky the baby is to have a big brother.
Lulu Reads to Zeki
Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw
This is probably both my and ToddlerGirl’s favourite book from the selection. We’ve read a couple of other Lulu books previously, so she is familiar with the character. This time, Lulu is going to be a big sister. The story shows her helping her parents to get ready for the baby’s arrival and then takes us through many common scenarios with newborns: the crying(!), the feeding, bath time, nappy changing, napping. For many of these, Lulu tells a story or reads a book to Zeke to distract or cheer him up, which I particularly liked as, of course, this is a great way to show toddlers how to be involved with their baby sibling. Again, this book has a very positive message for soon to be big sisters and brothers, ending with the whole family giving their time and attention to Lulu to read a story ‘for the best big sister of all’.
I’m a Big Sister / Brother
There are two versions of this book, one for big sisters and one for big brothers, which is useful as ToddlerGirl can really relate to the older sister character. It is told in the voice of the big sister and takes us through ideas such as how little the baby is (i.e. it can’t do much at the moment!), why babies cry and being gentle with the baby (and asking mummy before trying to hold it). Unlike some of the other books, it also really emphasises the importance of the older sibling, which is something I was looking for in particular to provide reassurance for ToddlerGirl. The big sister looks at pictures of herself as a baby, realising that she was little too once. Now she is big and can do lots of fun things the baby can’t do. The best part is the final page, which affirms that mummy and daddy still love the big sister and that she is still very special to them, as she is the ‘only me in the whole world’. This is a lovely message and has been a good talking point with ToddlerGirl.
My Busy Being Bella Day
We spotted this at the library and I’m really glad we checked it out as it addresses another aspect of being a big sister: the potential to feel a little bit jealous and left out when the baby spends all day at home with mummy. The text is told in Bella’s voice, with some lovely humorous touches, and the illustrations are bold and colourful.
Bella is off to nursery and is fairly grumpy about it, as she’s sure her baby brother, Bob, is having a whale of a time visiting soft play and coffee shops with their mum. After a while, though, she forgets to be fed up and enjoys all the things she can do at nursery, such as singing, dressing up and playing on the seesaw – all things that Bob is too little to be able to do (a point that I make sure I emphasise as we’re reading it!). At the end of the day, she finds out that Bob’s day hasn’t been nearly as exciting as he’s had to watch their mum do housework and he’s spent all the time missing his big sister. This is a really useful talking point to help minimise any resentment the older sibling may feel and ToddlerGirl seems to be catching onto the message that being the big girl can be a lot more fun…
The New Baby Sticker Book
For something a bit different, try this sticker book from Usborne. Most toddlers love stickers so this could be a good way to introduce the idea of a baby sibling while doing a quiet activity together. We haven’t tried this yet but I’m thinking it could be a useful book to have on hand for the final weeks, when I am huge and wanting to rest a bit more!
What books would you recommend to help a toddler understand that they are going to become a big sister or brother?