Celebrate Birth Helping Siblings Welcome a New Child

• Make a small, simple quilt with your children out of leftover material for the newborn baby. Read The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brum-beau (Orchard Books, 2000) with your children and talk about how people are happiest when they are helping others and giving instead of receiving. This can also help prepare them for the helping role of older siblings. See also: Polacco, Patricia. The Keeping Quilt (New York: Aladdin, 2001).

• Read Charlene Costanzo's The Twelve Gifts of Birth (New York: HarperCollins, 2001) to your children. Twelve gifts are given to every child at birth: strength, beauty, courage, compassion, hope, joy, talent, imagination, reverence, wisdom, love, and faith (leaving open-ended what to have faith in). Talk about what the baby might need strength, beauty, wisdom, and other attributes for. Are there other attributes that your children think that the baby needs to get through life that aren't listed?

• In honor of the new baby, make simple baby blankets out of fleece to give to a local shelter. An easy way to make the blankets is to cut two identical squares of fleece, cut in on each side three inches, place the pieces on top of one another, and then tie the two corresponding cut tabs together to bind the two pieces of cloth into a blanket! Kids love to do this project!

• Create a special poem for the new child. Write it on special paper for a keepsake. Use the newborn's name and make a special wish for the child for every letter of the name. You could even frame this and decorate the frame.

• To celebrate the adoption of a child from another country, put a color with a special meaning from the country of origin into the outfit for the day. Red, for example, is the color of celebration in China.

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