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Tips for New Siblings

Welcoming a new baby into the world is a joyful thing. But it can be confusing to children who are all of a sudden thrust into the role of big brother or big sister.

Once every month, longtime childbirth educator Penny Simkin teaches a class, offered through Parent Trust for Washington's Great Starts program, to help prepare soon-to-be siblings for the great, big change that's about to happen in their lives.

Here's a list of tips Simkin gives all of the kids who take the class:

When your baby sister or brother is very young (up to 2 months) try these things:

  • Hold him.
  • Sing to her and talk to her.
  • Make faces with him, when he is wide awake and not crying.
  • Open your mouth and close it slowly five or six times. He may copy you!
  • Stick out your tongue and put it back slowly five or six times. She may copy you!
  • Show her toys and some of your favorite things.

When the baby gets a little older, you can:

  • Read her a baby book.
  • Take him for walks in his stroller (with your mom).
  • Play peek-a-boo.
  • Sing songs with action (This Old Man, Patty-Cake, etc.).
  • Stack blocks for him to knock down.

How to help your mother with baby care:

  • Help change diapers.
  • Get things (something to drink, a blanket, the diaper bag, or something else).
  • Help pack the diaper bag.

When you are in the car, sit beside the baby and …

  • Give her toys to shake.
  • Shake rattles for him.
  • Wind up music toys.
  • Sing to the baby.

Can you think of other things to do with your baby?

For more information about the sibling preparation class and others offered through Great Starts, go to www.parenttrust.org/index.php?page=class-sibling-preparation-for-kids.

Penny Simkin is a childbirth educator, doula, birth counselor and author of several best-selling books, including The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions. Learn more at www.pennysimkin.com.

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