At SensoBaby we understand that play is important from birth, and playing with your newborn is a great way to help their development. The challenge the second time round is finding activities that both a newborn and siblings can play together!
Our family is expanding and the latest addition is a new baby boy. Having spent three years as a trio, our family have welcomed our new little Sunshine with great joy and excitement.
Lots of the families who attend SensoBaby have more than one child and will know that looking after two children is very different from looking after one! Regardless of their ages, all children have their own specific needs that need attending to and want that precious, quality time with their mother, father or another caregiver. So its unsurprising that sometimes parents can feel stretched and worry about the amount of attention they are able to give each child.
Here are a few ideas we have discovered so far to encourage sibling bonding and shared play:
Role play is a vital part of learning for young children and a new baby can provide a host of opportunities for an older sibling to pretend to be ‘mother’ by either assisting you in the care of the baby or playing alongside you with their dolls and teddies. This teaches them new skills, gives them a sense of accomplishment and promotes a positive relationship between a newborn and siblings. It also gives you an opportunity to talk to them about when they were a baby and demonstrate how you used to care for them in the same way.
This is important for all newborns and although they may not tolerate it for long, putting them on their tummy for a couple of minutes a day helps their development. Older children can provide the entertainment; put them in charge of choosing toys for baby to look at and encourage them to lie next to baby and show them their favourite book or artwork.
Painting is always fun for older children and getting the baby involved (providing you watch out for signs of over stimulation) can make for a lovely shared experience. Support the older child to paint the soles of the baby’s feet and hold paper against them to make little footprints which makes great keepsake!
Some little ones enjoy bathtime and our new addition certainly does! Having the older child help with bathtime can give them a sense of responsibility and a chance for them show how they can be gentle and care for their sibling. They’ll also love a chance to splash about in the bath with them as long as baby is held safely and securely.
Whether you are on your first, second, third or sixth baby, it is lovely to have an opportunity to spend that one to one time with your newborn. Check out the new SensoNana programme at SensoBaby where you can spend quality time with your little one, discover new ways to play and engage with them, and swap tips and tricks with other parents!