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Preparing for Baby: Books and Blessings pt. 2

Posted by Patience on September 12, 2008 at 7:00 AM in Family ActivitiesPatience
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Blessings: part 2

After our last family togetherness activity to prepare for the arrival of our baby, we chose something a little different this time around.

My friend Melissa gave me this great idea after reading a book on how other cultures prepare and celebrate birth. The idea was to hang flags with hopes, wishes and blessings for a new baby. It is thought that these blessings would be the first thing a baby sees after he or she is born. I can hardly think of a better way to be introduced to your new family and the world.

I let the kids pick the color of paper and asked them to write or draw one thing they wanted or hoped for our new baby. Here's what they came up with:

Josiah: I hope you like what you see.
Jack: I wish you have the power to be strong.
Lucy: I wish this picture for you.
Me: I wish you feel happy and loved.
Jorge: I hope you feel loved in the deep way everyone else does in our family.

jack flag.jpg

This little activity helped us think of our baby as a real person who we already love and have yet to meet. By offering our wishes and blessings, we can start to imagine her here.

If the idea of having the baby isn't producing much excitement at your house, you can turn the exchange on it's side and ask the kids-

What do you wish for yourself when our baby comes?

Everyone in the family can participate, it might expose some needs you haven't discovered yet.
Even with all the family prep, everyone will still find their own way and in their own time. Somehow we all come back to each other in the end. I'm learning it's what family is all about.

Here are a few more ideas for inviting kids to prepare for baby:

1. Cook together- Invite the kids into the kitchen to make some frozen meals for postpartum nights when cooking sounds like a hopeless task. Let the kids pick the desserts to have with each planned meal.

2. Get a code word- Decide on a code word that kids can use when they are feeling left out or need some extra attention. Talk about the demands of a tiny baby and how you will navigate everyone's needs. Ask kids for input on problem solving in different scenarios.

3. Make something sacred- Pick an activity you can do together that kids can count on no matter what. If reading before bed is your thing, pick a new book and commit to being there for that one activity.
Try to stick to a regular time if possible but make a prior "escape" plan with your child if baby crisis trumps the moment. Let your child decide when your alternative plan should take place.

Now can someone remind me of these ideas in 3 weeks when I'm pulling my hair out with an infant and 3 kids?


Anita writes...

Another beautiful idea! At first glance reminded me of the tibetan peace flags - my best friend is due soon with two already here - so I will pass this idea on to her............I'm sure her girls will love it!

Jean writes...

What great ideas! I love how you include the whole family in activities to welcome the new baby. But you also address the individual needs of each of your kids by asking each to choose an activity he or she can count on once the baby comes home -- this provides an assured island of stability in a sea of change. Another idea might be to have each of your kids pick out an outfit for the baby to wear when she gets home, or pick out a book to read to her (or, in Lucy's case, to have read to her).

Sarah writes...

Two things:

1) I think 3 weeks is wishful thinking, my dear.

2) I have tried to have mother-daughter dates with R since the baby was born. It is challenging enough to make one-on-one time with one kid, I can't imagine doing it with three. But it has been so rewarding, and she absolutely loved out dates. Sometimes it is as simple as going to the library together for an hour, just her and me.

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