It can be a huge help to have your child enrolled at child care when you have another baby on the way. Knowing that your child will be well looked after and entertained while you manage the demands of a new baby is such a great feeling.
But did you know that your child care centre can actually help support your growing family even more? Toddle spoke to Sherrie Riding, the Centre Manager from TLC Childcare Sherwood to find out exactly what child care centres like hers offer for families in their care.
How can a centre be of support to a family that is expecting a baby?
‘We would encourage educators to be reading stories about welcoming a new baby at home, to help the older child understand what is happening,’ says Sherrie.
‘We would also ensure we had set up a ‘baby play’ area to reflect a nursery, helping a child to understand how things may look at home. So there would be toys such as baby dolls, prams, wraps and high chairs.’
For the pregnant mother, being offered some extra time to rest would be so welcomed. ‘On a more practical level, we would offer the family additional days of care, or the option to swap days to help the family's schedule,’ Sherrie said.
Your child care centre can also help you if your older child is displaying any signs of anxiety, stress or worry about the new baby and what the changes will mean for them. Offering the older child the regular routine in a familiar environment can be hugely beneficial when things are changing at home.
How can a centre support the family once the baby arrives?
‘Our centre offers casual bookings, which can be great for families who need extra days of care – especially last minute,’ says Sherrie.
‘Our close relationship with our families means we can provide additional support where needed – whether that be new routines, or talking about how the new baby is at home.’
If your child care centre offers extended hours but you’ve never needed to use them, this could be the time to adjust your older child’s day. For instance, it might be helpful if another relative is able to collect your child some days, to avoid having to put a newborn in the car when they’re due for a nap.
Any tips for parents to help their older child feel part of the new, bigger family?
‘We encourage parents to have lots of open conversations about what to expect when the baby is born,’ explains Sherrie.
‘Also, allowing for special moments of time away from the baby with just the older child can help to ensure they feel the equal amount of attention,’ she shares.
‘Some families choose to have a lovely gift for the older child from the baby, which can help to create that special bond.’
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