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


5. Reassure them that you'll still love them.
"My five-year-old stepdaughter asked if I would still love her when I had a baby of my own. I told her that love is like a tree inside us. When someone new comes along to love, that tree grows new branches for the new person. The rest of the branches stay strong and healthy, and the tree gets bigger and more beautiful."

6. Use a book to explain the baby's development.
"We bought the book, A Child Is Born by Lennart Nilsson. It has full-color photographs of babies inside the womb, from conception to birth. I'd sit down with Kaitlyn and show her what size her new baby brother or sister was that day. When I got closer to my due date, I showed her some of the labor pictures, including one where the baby was being born and the mother was looking at her new baby, smiling."

7. Enlist their help.
"I explained to my three-year-old son that he was becoming a big boy now, and I would need lots of help with the baby. He is very keen on helping me out as much as he can now and it makes him feel really special."

8. Create a memory book.
"I love to scrapbook and my daughter helped me create a special book that documented 'before baby' and 'after baby.' We took pictures and she made special drawings to include in 'her' book."

9. Give them extra attention when they need it.
"My toddler became more clingy than usual as the big day approached. We took this as a cue to slow down and focus more on him. We'd sit down and cuddle and read a book together, and soon he was recharged and ready to go off on his own to play again -- at least for a while."

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