How To Be The Favorite Aunt

Becoming the favorite aunt of your new niece or nephew is all about developing a relationship with the child that is strong and founded in l...

Becoming the favorite aunt of your new niece or nephew is all about developing a relationship with the child that is strong and founded in love and respect. If you've got a new little one in your life, start your relationship right by realizing that the key is being supportive of them and not trying to convince them that you are a great aunt. If you really are a great aunt, he or she will figure that out on their own!

Starting Things Right

If a brother or sister has recently welcomed a baby into the world, start by first and foremost celebrating the new parents. If possible, visit them in the hospital or at home as soon as they are ready to have guests.

Offer to help with all of the childcare tasks or bring over some cleaning supplies and tackle housework that is making them feel overwhelmed.

Have some premade meals delivered to them as well to make the seemingly arduous task of cooking much easier on them. This is an excellent way to show your sibling and their spouse that you are happy for them and that you are excited to help them welcome their new child.

The first step in having a good relationship with your niece or nephew is having a good relationship with your brother or sister.

Bringing Gifts

Babies obviously can't fully appreciate gifts, but the sentimental value of the gifts received at birth is life-long both for the parents and the child.

Keep that in mind as you shop, but remember that new parents will also place tremendous value on pragmatic items that can help to reduce the financial burden of a young family. You may give these gifts with the parents in mind, but you're ultimately supporting the newborn as well.

If you get creative, there are plenty of ways to combine cute and memorable with highly functional. Consider personalized baby gifts like blankets with the baby's name embroidered that they can keep forever, or a contribution towards a nice stroller like a running stroller for the parent who loves exercise.

Getting To Know The Child

The most important element of developing a good relationship with a child is realizing that you can't force a relationship to develop.

When they are toddlers, read to them often. Take them to the park and make them their favorite snacks.

Don't impose the things you love on the child. Let them express themselves to you and then choose activities and gifts based on their interests, not your own.

Young children are very self-interested and they love to get attention and encouragement, so get actively involved in the things they love. If they love baseball but you love soccer, focus on the baseball! Help them start a baseball card collection, and make it a tradition to get them a new card every time you see them. This doesn't mean you can't introduce them to soccer later on.

Most of the time, kids want to imitate and adopt things about the adults they love, so once the child has developed a relationship with you, they will probably be very interested in doing all the things you like to do. Just make sure you are spending lots of time on the things they love first and foremost. And as the child starts to develop interests that seem to align with yours, it's totally fine to start giving them gifts and choosing activities based on things you know. Got a niece who seems to like space ships? Introduce her to Star Wars or Star Trek. Got a nephew who likes animals? Introduce him to your pets.

Knowing The Boundaries

When you start to develop a very close relationship with your niece or nephew, it can be hard to remember that you need to respect the rules set by the child's parents. Never assume you know better than the parents – it is their child, after all.

If you try to second guess their parenting decisions, the only thing you will accomplish is making them less likely to let you spend time with their kid.

Be respectful of all of their choices and don't let the child start to see you as an alternative to a parent. It will be tempting to let them do so, as you want the child to trust you and be your friend. But it's very important that he or she doesn't perceive you as able to undermine their parents authority. Your good relationship should be founded on love but also respect.

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Contributed By: Kimberly


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