We have a number of young children who are going to become big brothers or sisters for the first or second time over the next couple of months. We have been reading a number of books about new babies and we have been practicing holding and caring for our baby dolls.
As a home based childcare professional- I work with a number of families and young children as they prepare for new little ones to come into their lives. One of the biggest things I have found to help children as they become siblings is to give them an opportunity to mimic and care for their own little one. Through children's pretend play - they work to make sense of the world, and they have an opportunity to practice and to learn.
Sometimes older siblings are still too young to be able to help with all of the tasks of taking care of a real baby, but giving them a baby doll to practice with helps them fell as though they are more of a part of what is going on.
One of the easiest and simple sensory table experiences you can set up for the children is a baby bath!
We fill our table up with water and a little bit of soap. I usually give the children washcloths and bath puffs- and they add their baby dolls to the tub.
We practice talking softly and singing to the baby. We talk about the temperature of the water, we talk about body parts- like arms, legs, fingers, and toes.... We practice gently washing our babies. Then, when the water starts to get too cold- we take the babies out and dry them off.
Most of the time, our babies go to sleep after they have a nice warm bath. Some of the children still find the tub to be appealing, so we usually add a bit more warm water, some more soap, and wire whisks! Our baby bath turns into a giant bubble tub for more exploration and fun!
Do you have any great tips for helping young children welcome a new baby?
I'd love to hear about them!