This article is part of a paid partnership between Five Minute Mum and Cry Babies.
My niece Callie is now two and a half years old. She is peak toddler. She likes to test out all the boundaries and happily yells ‘no’ to exercise her right to voice her opinion with a frightful force, much like her elder cousins before her. Yet in just one month she will become a big sister. Yikes. How is that going to go?
When I was pregnant with Florence, and Ewan wasn’t even yet two, I constantly wondered how the addition of another child would go down with him. Would he be jealous? Would he suddenly want to start breastfeeding again? Or want a dummy or milk in a bottle? What would I do when he wanted to get into our bed in the middle of the night and I was feeding a tiny baby?
I’m sure like many of you who have also awaited another arrival, doubts spun endlessly around my head. So I got Ewan a doll to help prepare him for having a baby around, and I wanted to share with you what I found useful and the tips I’ve passed on to my brother and his wife for Callie too.
As the old saying goes, actions speak louder that words, and the same is true when teaching children. Modelling behaviour we wish to see is always more powerful than telling them what we want them to do. How we act is what they mimic the most and so having a doll and spending five minutes a day modelling how you would behave with a baby is a really nice way to show your little one just how calm and easy that can be. Here’s some things that I did:
- Touching and stroking the baby gently. Using kind, soft hands and low whispered tones. ‘Shhh baby, nice and slow’ and letting your little one see how you handle them and the way you speak.
- Doing a task like wiping their mouth or drying their tears (Cry Babies cry real tears when you fill their heads with water and squeeze them) and using phrases you would use with a real baby. You can even do it with your toddler in real time. Wiping their mouth after a meal for example, and then handing them the wipe to let them do the same with their doll.
- Playing games where you take it in turns with your doll. A good one for this I found was playing Puzzle Pass the Parcel from my first book. Get one of those little puzzles where you have to pop the items back in their wooden slots and wrap up the pieces into a layered parcel. Then I would put on some music and sit with my child and their doll. We would pass around the parcel until the music stops and I would make sure everyone got a ‘turn’ even the doll, to open the parcel and put the puzzle piece back, so we could show them how it’s ‘their turn and now my turn’
- When the baby comes it’s nice to let them have their own version of things to copy mummy or daddy. So I would get out an old towel to use as a changing mat and give it to my child for their doll while I was changing the baby’s nappy. I also once made a doll sling out of one of my scarves for when we went out on a walk so I carried baby Flo and Ewan could carry his baby too.
- Doing activities together. There are a few things we used to do a lot that both children would enjoy. Singing nursery rhymes - I would get out musical instruments or just saucepans and wooden spoons for Ewan and we could all sing together. Or make it dark and plug in some fairy lights - Ewan would have a torch to explore the dark corners and Florence would enjoy the sensation of looking at the twinkly fairy lights.
You can find more of my tips for siblings of different ages HERE
So these are just a few of the ideas I have passed on to my brother and sister-in-law ready for their new arrival and of course big cousin Florence is always ready to play with the Cry Baby dolls and show Callie what she knows too.
The dolls featured here are Cry Babies and are part of the new collection of Loving Care dolls – which encourage imaginative role and nurture play. There are three to choose from - Coney, Lady, and Lala and they are all dressed in cute and cuddly pyjamas and with personalised accessories.
Coney: loves to bake, comes with a bib, cupcake and dummy – ideal for creating food adventures.
Lady: loves drinking juice, comes with a juice bottle, nappy and dummy - perfect for practicing nappy changes.
Lala: loves to make everyone laugh and do magic tricks, she comes with a baby bottle, a muslin blanket and dummy - ideal for teaching children about emotions (happiness, laughing, or feeling scared – Lala’s muslin doubles as a security blanket).
The new Cry Babies dolls will be recognisable to children, and parents, who follow the animated Cry Babies adventures on YouTube, Nick Jnr., and Netflix. Watch the latest series and new storylines on the official Kitoons YouTube channel and video streaming platform.
Age suitability: from 18mths+
Where to buy: available from all good retailers including Smyths, Sainsburys and Asda - there is a link her to Smyths https://www.smythstoys.com/uk/en-gb/search/?text=loving+care
Instagram: @cry_babies_official / @kitoonsen / @imctoys