Children love to engage in all sorts of pretend play and imitating the role of a parent is certainly one of the most enjoyed. Washing, cleaning, preparing food are all experiences they are familiar with happening to them and so it’s often fun to reverse this role and have them take on some caring responsibilities.
As many of you know, we have a new little baby joining our family very soon and so I feel it’s important to prepare Possum (almost 3 years old) as much as possible for the big changes that we are all about to experience. I simply set up an activity that would see her caring for newborn with pretend play as a strategy.
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Caring for newborn with pretend play
Possum is incredibly excited about the new baby and can’t wait to take on the role of being a big sister. She has already started making all sorts of plans to care for “her”, even though we don’t know what gender the baby is.
Recommended age: 2 years +
(Active supervision is required on all my activities)
Washing a baby
I purchased a realistic plastic doll with moving parts and gathered together a few simple items, such as wash cloths etc. that might be good for her to use during some given pretend playtime. I was keen to give her an opportunity to role play and wash, clothe and feed her baby and get a sense of how important it is to care for a newborn.
She was so excited at the thought of using this newborn baby wash station that she immediately began stripping off the baby dolls clothing immediately. It was a great opportunity for her to test her skills in removing various pieces of clothing, such as peeling part velcro and other bits and pieces found on the clothes.
Possum washed the baby for such a long time and it was incredibly engaging for her.
As she was doing this we were talking about the importance of needing to keep our body clean and dry the different parts of the body. This was great for developing her descriptive language skills.
Once baby was washed and dried using the towel provided, it was time for the clothes to go back on. This, much like when dressing a real baby, proved to be a bit of a challenge and cause some frustration. What a great opportunity to learn about persistence and patiences and asking for help!!!
Of course there are many more ways you can involve your child in preparing for a newborn. I would love to recommend Chelsea from the blog ‘ Moments A Day’ who is currently sharing a series of brilliant post, ‘Tips for Families Preparing for a New Baby‘. Be sure to have a look!
Preparing little children for big changes within the family can be difficult and it can be hard to know what will work once a newborn arrives. I think communication is a very big part of the process, engaging them in simple activities as the one I’ve just demonstrated and to involve them as much as possible in the baby preparations. That’s our family approach. Wish us luck! 🙂