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


10. Start a relationship with the baby -- before birth.
"I encouraged my son to talk to my tummy and feel the baby move inside of me. He would often pat my belly and tell his soon-to-be brother all of the fun things they would do when he finally came out."

11. Involve them in your pregnancy.
"My son came to all my obstetrician appointments. He loved listening to the heartbeat every month and especially loved the ultrasound. Throughout the nine months, we prepared him for what to expect after the baby was born."

12. Emphasize what things only "big kids" can do.
"We explained that babies mostly sleep, eat and cry, but that when they get older they will learn how to crawl and walk and talk and will be able to play with their big sister. We also told her all of the neat things that she can do that babies can't, like eat candy and ice cream, play at McDonald's, ride a tricycle, listen to stories and use the potty."

13. Revisit their babyhood.
"My four-year-old son was thrilled to look at his own baby book and learn that he and his friends used to be babies. We also pointed out that some of the things that are for the baby are really to make our lives easier. You can put the baby in the play yard to keep him out of your toys, the crib is where the baby sleeps and the doorknob covers keep the baby out of the older child's room."

14. Let them role-play.
"We bought a doll for our two-year-old and let her pretend to be 'Mommy.' All on her own, she would put the baby under her shirt and pretend that she was pregnant, too. We would take care of her 'baby', bathing and changing her doll, taking it for walks and putting it down for naps."

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