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!!!
We also decided to try dressing other toys as added practice.
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! 🙂
Kate - An Everyday Story says
When we were expecting our daughter we bought a little anatomically correct for our son to play with and take care of. He used to love washing, dressing and changing his little doll’s nappy too 🙂 I actually do think it help him familiarise himself with the idea of being a big brother. It was lovely.
Oh your sweet Possum! She looks like she was very gentle. My older kids (who were 6 and 3) were super excited about our bub arriving. And they have been such super helpers! I am just thrilled with how caring and engaged with him they are. My son has really taken to heart that he is teaching bub, but also loves to make him laugh. While my daughter is such a little mummy, and has even changed a really yukky nappy on her own! kids are amazing 🙂
Penny at Mother Natured says
I want to know if she’s now doing the real thing with her new sister 🙂
Adorable photos you got with your baby girl. I am 7 months pregnant and honestly, I still don’t know how my 2 year old will react when she sees her little brother. You just gave me and idea. Thanks!
Thanks Gloria! I’m glad you’re feeling inspired. It can be daunting but it is possible to make it easier. Good luck with your new bubs. I’m sure it will all go very smoothly. Best wishes.