Tips for Being an Involved Aunt or Uncle

So your sibling is having a baby? Becoming an aunt or uncle is one of the most rewarding experiences of your life—apart from having your own children, of course. If you aren’t sure about starting a family, being involved in your niece or nephew’s life can be a great practice run to see what it would be like. Plus, there’s no beating that smile a kid gives you when they know their fun relative just walked through the door.
Even if you already have a family of your own, being an active participant in your niece or nephew’s life is an important and rewarding experience. Take a look at the advice below on how to make the most out of this precious relationship.
Visit Your Niece or Nephew Right Away
mother and daughter happyNo matter how far away you may live from your sibling, make the effort to visit them right after the birth. Not only will they love to see a friendly face, but getting skin-on-skin contact with your niece or nephew at such a young age is profoundly. Your new little family member will grow accustomed to your presence, and you’ll get to see the fragile life you get to help shape.
Waiting several months or even years simply won’t be the same. The blank slate of a newborn baby is an amazing sight to behold, especially if you’ve never had children yourself. Start out your role as an aunt or uncle on a high note by taking the time to meet the newest addition to the family.
Read Up on Baby Development
little-trumpeterBeing an involved aunt or uncle takes a lot more than simply attending birthday parties and sending $20 bills in the mail. It’s important to understand infant developmental milestones if you plan to be an active part of your niece or nephew’s life. Knowing when they start to eat solid foods, crawl, form sentences, and walk will help you take care of them through any stage of life. Not only is it just plain helpful for you to understand, but your sibling will surely appreciate the effort you put in to learning about their child.
Offer to Babysit
kids and fathers playingIf you live in the same city as your niece of nephew, offer to babysit once a month or so. While you can certainly get in quality bonding time while you visit with the whole family, there’s something extra special about having one-on-one time with your favorite Mini Me. Plus, your sibling will appreciate having a little time off to go out on a date night or simply get some much needed sleep.
When you babysit, make sure to be a teacher to your niece or nephew. Take them to the park to stimulate their senses, read them new books, and get down on their level to play. While they likely won’t remember it, show them from an early age that you care about expanding their mind. Being known as the “cool aunt” or the “cool uncle” is one of the best rewards you could ever receive.
Get in Touch Often
mom-and-aunt-play-with-a-boy-in-the-parkAlthough babysitting is a great way to stay involved in the life of your niece or nephew, oftentimes your sibling won’t live in the same city as you. When this is the case, make an effort to stay in touch—and frequently. Whether that means snail mail, email, Snapchat, or text message, make sure your sibling and their little bundle of joy know you think about them often. When your niece or nephew is old enough to read, they’ll adore hearing from you on a regular basis. They’ll probably even think of you as a big brother or sister instead of just an aunt or uncle!
Being an aunt or uncle can be one of the most rewarding relationships you’ll ever experience. You get to help shape the life of a child and be their support network when parental advice just won’t cut it. From their first birthday to college graduation, you should be right there cheering on your niece or nephew as they accomplish all the big milestones. There truly isn’t anything in this world as rewarding as a big hug from the little one that you love!

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