GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008 - (Page 55)

Happy Big sister day a party celebrates a child’s about-tobe-a-sibling status with love and fun By gina roBerts-grey another child, Janet Sergeant of Dryden, New York, began nervously wondering how her 4 1/2-year-old granddaughter would welcome her new baby brother. “We kept looking for ways to include her in the process, but asking her opinion on paint colors didn’t seem to capture the feeling of becoming a big sister,” explains Sergeant. In a moment of nesting inspiration, Sergeant stumbled upon a way to both include her granddaughter in the preparations of expecting another baby and give her a day of her own to celebrate her impending status as big sister. “I was thinking about how women have baby showers to celebrate becoming a mother again, but their kids don’t have a special day. And that’s when it hit me: I decided to host a sibling shower for my granddaughter!” Decorating her dining room with streamers and balloons, Sergeant made finger sandwiches and invited her granddaughter’s preschool and neighborhood pals over for an afternoon of prebaby-brother fun. “My granddaughter was thrilled to be surprised with her own day,” said Sergeant. W hen her daughter was expecting How it helps “Children under age 5 are often very insecure about becoming a big brother or sister,” says child psychologist Leslie Buckner, Ph.D., “and in most cases, the children aren’t mature enough to even understand that they’re feeling insecure.” Hosting a party or designating a special day to dote on a young child helps to solidify his security. It reminds your grandchild he will play a vital role in the life of your newest family member. A day to herald a child as the next big brother or sister in the family fosters the sibling bond even before the baby is born. Sergeant says, “Toward the end of the shower, my granddaughter was saying that she hoped her parents would have another baby so she could throw her baby brother his own shower.” Spending the day being the center of attention can also be extremely beneficial for a child struggling to understand how the new baby will alter the world as he knows it. “It reminds a child that even though one aspect of his life will change, another will remain consistent,” says Dr. Buckner. A sibling shower can reinforce that family members love and support him and that he will still have his circle of friends and neighbors. Although some guests may elect to bring a small gift, sibling showers are geared more toward celebrating the young child than bringing gifts. “Traditional baby showers are held to stock a nursery. It is more important to recognize a child’s new role as an older sibling at this type of event than to lavish him with gifts,” notes Dr. Buckner. G EvEnt dEtails Sibling showers can be as short as an hour or can last the entire day depending on the age of the child and guests: for say, an elementary-school-age girl, a sleepover with a couple of best friends; or, for a younger child, simply an impromptu gathering of friends or cousins to share his favorite meal or snacks and toast his impending status as a big-brother-to-be. Most important, the party should be held as close to the delivery as possible and reasonable. Some party ideaS: • Photo frames embellished or designed by shower guests serve as terrific party activities as well as gifts for the guest of honor. • Children ages 5 and up can participate in shower games such as diaper the baby-doll races or play name the nursery rhyme. Children under 5 can watch brief video clips of the sibling-to-be as a baby. • Guests can take home (non-PBA) sippy cups filled with marshmallows or miniature cookies as functional souvenirs. • Finger foods are often the food of choice at sibling showers. “We served many of my granddaughter’s favorite foods,” says Sergeant, who was delighted that most of the guests loved the slices of salami rolled with cheese. “It was much less stressful than planning a party for adults.” Celery stalks filled with cream cheese and topped with raisins delight little boys by suggesting bugs on a log; pink lemonade and star fruit appeal to soon-to-be sisters. SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2008 GRAND 55

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008

Grand Magazine- September/October 2008
Grand View:Priceless
Isn't it Grand?: Picture Perfect
Winners!: GRANDparent of the Year
Grand Central
Toddler Town:Grand-proofing
Ask Grand:Two Tired
Tips on Teens: The Bar Mitzvah Trips
Just So We Know:BPA Not Our BFF
Full House-Full Heart-Full Time:Confessions of a Backyard Grand
Grandbloggers: It Takes a Village
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
Family Food = Fun
On the Cover: Nora Roberts A Fine Romance
Everything Was Fine Until You Showed Up
Happy Big Sister Day
Looking Grand:Elementary, My Dear
All in the Family:Pasta, Present and Future
Inspirations:Grandpa's Violin
Grand Bazaar
More to the Story
Grand Finale:Long Ago Under the Sun

GRAND Magazine - September/October 2008