(A Group Class in Sebastopol)
In this sibling-focused group class, we focus solely on your older children and how you can best support them in navigating the experience of becoming an older sibling. The class fee includes a 20 minute phone call before class with just the adults, so we can discuss who your older child is, what your hopes and concerns may be, whether you plan to have them present for the birth itself, and how I can best tailor the class to suit your plans and your child's needs.
I'll open the class with a brief talk (tailored to children's ages) about what they can expect from their new baby and how special that baby is going to think they are. Then we'll move into open exploration of various stations set up around the room:
- Books for various ages about birth, babies, and the feelings that siblings often have
- Videos of siblings meeting and interacting with their babies
- Videos of birth (if appropriate, either a dolphin or human birth) and an area for discussing and practicing the animal-like sounds and movements together
- Dolls, blankets, diapers, burp cloths and clothes so we can practice and talk about how to care for our babies and how siblings can help
- Baby heartbeat listening station, with a comfy place for the pregnant parent to lay down; we can listen to the baby's heartbeat, listen to the older children's hearts, and pretend to listen to our dolls
Depending on the ages of the children, we may visit each station all together so I can facilitate the discussion at each. If it feels more appropriate, we may allow the siblings to visit each station as they feel drawn to them, spending time with their parents at each while I visit and offer support wherever I'm most useful. Children respond best to this topic when they get to play and explore at their own pace, so we'll tailor each class as it goes to maximize their exposure to the topics while minimizing overwhelm.
After each class, parents will receive a list of books, videos and ideas that we will have created some context for, so that they may continue the conversation as a family in the weeks that follow.