Now that you have a new baby, it’s important to know how to juggle playtime with your older toddler. Here are ideas for managing time with both.
Ensuring that you have plenty of playtime with your toddler is essential for their development and engagement. It also helps to strengthen the bond between the two of you. With a new baby, it might seem challenging, but you can play with both of them together.
Preparing Your Older Child for the New Baby
It’s important to prepare your toddler for the arrival of their new sibling ahead of time. This can give them a chance to be ready for the birth of the new baby and minimize the risk of jealousy. Here are a few things you can do to prepare them:
- Talk to your child about newborns: how they mostly eat and cry, how tiny and delicate they are and how they need to be held often.
- Tell your child stories about when they were a newborn baby and how you took care of them.
- Tell your child the things they might be able to do to help with the baby, such as talk to them and bring diapers and wipes when you have to change them.
- Let your child see how babies nurse and read them books that show babies nursing.
- If your child is weaned or was never breastfed, explain to your child about how you make milk for the baby and that’s how they eat. Also, explain that nursing makes the baby feel better when they’re scared or sad.
- If your child is still nursing, explain how both they and the new baby will both nurse. Stress that the baby will need it a lot since they can’t eat regular food yet.
Ideas for Playtime for Your Child
Certain games are excellent for younger babies during playtime. They can help with learning and stimulate your child at the same time. You don’t necessarily need to have a load of expensive toys in order to engage your child. You can still ensure they have fun and learn some valuable skills with a few classic activities. Those games include the following:
- Peek-a-boo: The baby version of hide-and-seek, peek-a-boo is wonderful for stimulating your baby’s senses and grooming their motor skills. This is a fun activity that teaches permanence to your child; it reinforces that even though they can’t see an object, that object still exists. Peek-a-boo will get your child laughing and enjoying themselves every time.
- Hide-and-seek: Hide-and-seek is a few steps up from peek-a-boo and teaches your child that even if you’re not in the room, you’re still there and can be found. This game is great for reducing separation anxiety.
- Stacking objects of play: This game helps your child prepare for preschool and involves grasping an object and stacking it on top of other objects. Babies learn how to grab, pull, push and organize while using their motor skills.
- Games of greeting: Games of greeting help your child to communicate through facial expressions. You can play with them by waving, clapping and making other gestures that excite them.
- Manipulative play: Playing with manipulative involves appealing to your child’s imagination. Activities such as stacking, filling, pouring and dumping encompass this type of game. For instance, you can play with blocks, build primitive sandcastles at the beach and more. It lets your child get creative.
Playing with Your Older Child and New Baby
It’s essential to involve both your older toddler and new baby in your playtime routine. This can help your children bond with one another and shows your older child that they’re still your firstborn. You can even explain to them that they now have the role of big brother or big sister, which should put a smile on their face.
There are some great new ways to enjoy playtime with your children. They include the following:
- Big and little: The idea with this game is to point out body parts that your kids have in common and call out “big nose, little nose” or “big toe, little toe” while tickling, touching or kissing them. You can also bring out a squishy, soft toy to use during this game.
- Kicking games: Babies love to kick their legs, but you can easily involve your older child in this game as well. You can make it even more fun by having your children kick a balloon or kick while splashing in a small pan of water.
- Show-and-tell: With this game, your toddler gets to find things around the house to show the baby and tell them stories about them. Your older child can tell the baby about the colors of the objects and bring items that can excite the baby like a rubber ducky.
- Read a story: Even if your toddler can’t read yet, they can bring their favorite book to talk to the baby about what happens in the story. This can keep both children engaged and help them easily bond.
- Make baby laugh: You and your toddler can come up with cute, funny ways to make the baby laugh. For instance, you can make silly faces, blow raspberries on baby’s belly or tickle them.
These playtime ideas are sure to make both your older toddler and baby have fun together. Try them and strengthen your bond even more.