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Toys—ease into home-care setting?
Q: I am going to send my 3-month-old son to a home care. The caregiver is a 50+ woman who also cares for her 2-year-old granddaughter and a 4-year-old boy. I am wondering what toys I should supply to comfort my son and give him emotional support while he's in home care.
A: Babies often become attached to a toy, such as a soft toy or a particular blanket. Bringing that favorite toy or item (or a duplicate) from home can provide a sense of security to a baby in a new setting. Also, if you use a musical toy that plays lullabies to help your baby fall asleep at home, consider bringing something similar to the home care. Hearing familiar music can be comforting to your baby during naptime. Be sure to find out types of toys your home care provider has for babies your son's age—and supplement with toys that complement them. You may want to give the caregiver a friendly reminder to keep toys that are appropriate for the older children out of your baby's reach.

Some suggestions for toys to consider bringing to your home care provider include infant play gyms and baby toys that feature many different activities to explore. These toys would be fun for your baby to play with, and fun for the other children to play with him! With a little help—and the right toys—I'm sure that your baby will soon feel comfortable and secure in his home care setting.

Kathleen Alfano Ph.D., Former Director of Child Research at Fisher-Price®