Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thinking Thursdays: Preparing for #2 (Activities & books)

We've been consciously trying to get Junior J involved in preparing for baby number 2 (for those who are asking, its going to be another boy btw!).  While we've tried to avoid the link between getting the boy to sleep on his own and the arrival of his brother, we've been trying to talk to the boy about how he'll be able to get a new playmate, and how he, as big brother, will be able to do many things to help care for the baby.

One of little boy's fav activities nowadays is role-playing, so recently we've started this little routine of giving his bear bear a bath before he sleeps.  The boy has worked out his own procedures for this... 

I gave him one of those toiletries kit gleaned from a previous stay in hospital,
containing bath gel, shampoo, a comb and a tooth brush.
The boy would insist on emptying the bag and lining everything up in a row before bathing his bear!

Junior J will poke his bear's neck (something my mum always does with him to make him shower) and declare "bear bear is sticky, he needs a bath!".  Then he would take the kit, the "hot tub" (a tupperware container) and a little towel, line everything up, get me to remove bear bear's diaper (the diaper is a long story, and warrants a separate post) and proceed to wash his bear (and for some strange reason, paying close attention that bear bear's armpits are well scrubbed out!).  

Then he would wrap the bear in the towel, hold him down ("please keep still, bear bear!") while I put the diaper back on, and proceed to "comb" the bear's "hair" and then brush the bear's teeth... I've been quite amazed at how methodical the little boy can be, even to the point of insisting that the bear must gargle after brushing his teeth (he puts a cup to the bear's mouth and tells the bear "ka-pui!").  Now if only he was the same when it came to his own self-care routines!  Whatever the case, we've been telling him that he can help out with bathing baby and changing baby's diaper too, so I think all these care routines with the bear would be useful in preparing him for the arrival of his little brother.

Aside from these little routines, we've been reading various books to the boy.  We've read "What Baby Needs" in the Sears Children Library Series, and I've liked the book's approach of celebrating the abilities of the older child.  We also have "I'm a Big Brother", by Joanna Cole, which seems to follow a similar trend of thought, but the story is shorter and simpler, and there is a big sister version.

But if you're not for these rather feel-good type of stories, then there's "Julius, the Baby of the World", by Kevin Henkes:  

This book had us grinning as we read it, since it records all the crazy things a jealous older sister does to her little baby brother.  It's probably suitable for slightly older kids, and would probably help to generate some discussion about sibling rivalry, and the conflicting emotions that arise with the arrival of a baby in the family.  Its not a book for the faint-hearted though!  (The first word the boy picked up from the book was the word "disgusting".  Whoops!)

We've read this to the boy, and have tried to explain to him that while Lilly (the older sister) intially had difficulty getting along with her brother Julius, they eventually became good playmates. :)

How do you prepare your little ones for a new addition to the family?  Do you have favourite books that you read, or are there things you bear in mind while preparing them for their sibling's arrival?  Do share!


  1. I bought "What Baby Needs" after scouring the books at Amazon. Love how this book brings in breastfeeding and babywearing, which is so our parenting style.

    We include baby and toddler in every day learning activities, so they get to "sit" side by side, give each other some space. My boy loves to chat to baby when he wakes up in the morning and after nap, so I guess that's good bonding too.

  2. Mievee: Oh yes, that was another aspect I liked about the book! So sweet that your boy chats to the baby! :)



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