20 ways to prepare your children for the arrival of a new baby

We've all heard about the kids who, when presented with a new sibling, demand that the baby be "sent back"! Or who regress into infant-like habits themselves, hoping that will win back mom and dad's attention. But plenty of other children greet a new addition to the family with excitement, joy and love. Want to set the stage for a positive sibling relationship from the get-go in your home? Here, iVillagers share real mom-to-mom strategies for preparing the children you already have for the one who's about to arrive.

1. Show them what's going on.
"I took my two-year-old to my ultrasound appointment and let him watch. He was fascinated and wanted to get real close to the screen and said he wanted to give the baby a lollipop!"

2. Give them information on their schedule.
"My preschooler had a lot of questions -- from how the new baby got in my belly to will I still love her after the baby is born. We took the time to answer each of her questions as they came up, simply, to reassure her."

3. Convey enthusiasm about the upcoming events.
"My daughter was 17 months old when I became pregnant again. Getting ready for baby's arrival became a special mommy-daughter time. I told her how I would need help from her and what a great big sister she would be. I was so excited about all of the things that she and I would do together that she couldn't help but get excited as well."

4. Make the baby-name game a family affair.
"We encouraged our five-year-old to help us pick out names for the baby. We felt that if he were involved in more personal way, it would help those feelings of jealousy. My husband and I picked out names and let Joshua pick out the middle name from a small list that we had narrowed down. He is so proud of 'his' baby!"

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