Life changed a whole lot when your parents brought the new baby home from the hospital — and sometimes it probably feels like the newest member of the family is getting all the attention!  But remember, it won’t always be this way: that baby is going to grow up into a little brother or sister who you can play with and be friends with for the rest of your life!  And if you would like to start that friendship now, here are some ways to bond with the newest person in the household.

Read to Them

If you are old enough to read, ask your mom if the three of you can sit down so that you can read the baby a story.  True, the baby won’t understand exactly what you are saying, but listening to stories is great for stimulating a baby’s growing brain and will eventually help them learn more words — and even become great readers themselves.  Dr. Seuss books like One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish or Mother Goose Rhymes are great for a family reading session.

Go to the Park

Do you have a favorite park to go to? If the weather is ok, ask your parents if you can all go together.  Pack up the stroller for the baby and maybe even a picnic lunch and head off to the great outdoors.  Your baby brother or sister won’t be able to help you feed the ducks or climb trees yet, but being outside is good for babies, too, so this is an activity that the whole family can enjoy together.  As the baby gets older, you can eventually play on the jungle gym or ride bikes together.

Learn to Hold the Baby

If you are old enough, ask your parents to let you hold the new baby. Be sure to sit down on the couch to do this and when the baby is put in your arms, make sure to hold his or her head up and put your other arm under them for support.  Don’t try to stand up or walk around with the baby but it is ok to rock them very gently and talk to them so that they get used to the sound of your voice.  This is a great way for you to bond with the baby!

Help with Baby Care

This doesn’t mean you should worry about changing dirty diapers or giving the baby a bath!  There are some things you can do, though, that will help your parents care for the new baby. You can help your parents pick out the baby’s clothes for the day or carry the diaper bag for your mom if she’s got a lot of stuff she carrying already or help them gather up the supplies they need to give the baby a bath. These may sound like little things, but it can help your parents a lot — and help you take on the important role of big brother or big sister.

Movie Night

Get some “couch time” with the whole family some evening with you, your parents and the baby and pop in a movie to watch all together.  One great movie for this is Disney’s Fantasia: it’s fun to watch for big kids, but the music and the colors of the movie will have the baby fascinated, too!  You can also look around and see what other movies might be good to stimulate the baby and get them used to the tradition of movie night.

Road Trip!

Many babies love to travel in the car!  So if it’s nice weather out, see if your parents want to go for a road trip and just take a drive through the countryside or to some nearby natural area just to get outside for a while.  If it is the weekend and your family has more time, they can even pack a lunch and do a longer drive or an outing that might last most of the day.  This will get you prepared for later one when you all take a summer vacation together!

Play with Them!

This probably sounds obvious, but it really is important for you to play with your baby brother or sister!  No, they’re not ready for hide and seek or capture the flag yet, but games like peekaboo will have them fascinated for hours and just singing, talking nonsense or smiling and making faces at them can be a lot of fun for you both! As they get a little older, another fun game can be hiding an object from them (for example, under their blanket) and letting them find it. When they are old enough to walk and run, you can start with more active games to play.

These are all fun and simple ways that you can bond with your baby brother or sister right from the beginning. The bonding is not just good for the baby but for you, too, and can help you to adjust to — and become friends with — the newest member of the household!