The arrival of a new baby heralds a time of many changes in your family. It is inevitable that you will be spending a lot of time and energy on the arrival of your youngest. And while the big brother or sister might be bouncing off the walls from excitement at the prospect of a new baby, at some point they will feel left out and neglected once the newest member of the family makes his appearance.
Let’s face it: Kids really love their parents and are not too eager on the idea of sharing you. Once the older sibling realizes that the new baby is for keeps, the novelty might wear off pretty quickly. The transitioning from one role into another can be difficult for an older child, especially if he or she have been your one and only.
Children who play together, bond together in a process that is unforced. You can not force this bond, but by encouraging sibling playtime, you allow your older child to see the potential fun in having a younger brother or sister. Activities for siblings will encourage their relationship to grow and evolve over time into a bond that will last a lifetime.
When it comes to fun yet safe activities for siblings, let your creative juices flow. The age of your children will greatly influence the kind of entertaining activities, but in the meantime, here are five activity ideas to get you started
1. A treasure hunt
Fill individual containers up with soft sand and place one in front of each child. Hide large, solids objects that don’t pose a choking hazard in the container for your baby and encourage him to feel and dig around in the sand and uncover his “treasure”. Give scoops, rakes, sifters and small shovels to the older children and help them to uncover their smaller and well hidden gems.
2. Arts and crafts
Realistically, your newborn will not be able to wield a paintbrush to create a masterpiece, but there are ways you can involve him in these activities for siblings. Coat your baby’s feet and hands in paint, and immortalise his prints on paper or canvas. Then have your elder decorate the end result any which way they feel like.
3. Story time
Help your child to make a “cut and paste” picture book about him and the little one. From the day the baby came home from hospital to where they currently are in their relationship. The older child then tells the story back to your baby, and whether or not your infant makes any sense of this, it is a great bonding activity for siblings.
Children love to have an audience to indulge their flights of fantasy, and baby is perfect to play along. The little one can become a guest at tea parties, a student in the teacher’s classroom, and a patient in the doctor’s office. Encourage these types of make-believe scenarios and have your toddler assign a specific role to the baby.
5. Play dough
Make your own play dough at home by mixing two cups of flour, a cup of salt, three teaspoons tartar, two cups of water and two tablespoons of vegetable oil together. Heat it up until it resembles the consistency of thick mashed potatoes. For an extra touch, add some food colouring to the mix. Let it cool and give to your children to poke at and turn into shapes. The salty dough will taste bad enough that baby won’t want to eat it, but nonetheless, this activity for siblings should be supervised.
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