The Journey to Big Siblinghood
Expect that your child will want to touch, hug, or even carry her infant sibling. Lindy Flemke, a registered nurse who teaches hospital sibling classes, emphasizes the rules of cleanliness and safety to children who are eagerly awaiting the birth of a baby brother or sister. When teaching restraint to avoid injury, Flemke trains children ages two through seven to get Mommy or Daddy when the baby cries, rather than intervene by themselves.
Young children need to understand that they are not to remove the baby from a bassinet or crib and that they are permitted to touch the baby only with permission. In preparation, children can be given a doll or stuffed animal toy and use it to pretend they are caring for a baby. With a doll, they can learn how to hold a baby safely under the watchful guidance of an adult. Flemke also stresses the importance of hand-washing before handling a baby to avoid the spread of germs.
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