What to Pack:
- Your child's favorite baby books or baby toys to share
- Team up. Call a friend with a baby and suggest trading babysitting services for a few hours. You and your child could even illustrate official babysitting certificates to exchange with your friend.
- Time your visit. Select a time when you know the baby will be awake (at least for a while!) and when your child is healthy and well-rested. If possible, stop by to allow everyone to meet each other before the big day.
- Follow directions. Make sure you understand any special instructions from the baby's mother. Ask for emergency phone numbers and jot down her cell number.
- Use caution. If the baby is willing, allow your child to hold her while sitting on the couch. Make sure he supports her head properly and handles her gently.
- Have a snack. Preschoolers will love holding a baby's bottle or spoon-feeding her applesauce or mashed peas. Don bibs and dish towels all around to prepare for the mess that will surely ensue. Encourage your child to help cleanup afterward.
- Explore and play. Kids can shake a rattle, do a dance, make funny faces, clap hands, play peekaboo. Have your child try sharing his favorite baby books or toys.
- Investigate. Ask these questions: Since a baby can't talk, what does she do to communicate with us? What makes her laugh? Cry? Startle? Why do you think babies eat mushy food? Why do babies wear diapers? Why do babies need to sleep so much? How do babies learn new things? What was your favorite activity with the baby? What can you do that a baby can't do?
- Record your visit. Capture both kids on camera for pictures your child will look at again and again. Pose the kids side-by-side and have your child try to copy the baby's various expressions.
- Clean up! Putting toys away is a good sorting activity and you KNOW you want your friend to return the favor when it's her turn to baby-sit!
- Read all about it. Check out 101 Things to Do With a Baby by Jan Ormerod (at the library!) and Arthur Babysits by Marc Brown.
Bonus Explorer Activity Print photos of your child copying the baby's expressions. Put them together as a gift to give baby's mom.
For more exploring, play Dora's Great Big World game, find do-together Dora crafts, recipes, and activities, and print a personalized Explorer Kit for you child at Doratheexplorer.com.
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