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


15. Decorate a new 'big kid' room.
"We decided to put the baby in my son's old room, so we were able to decorate his new "big boy" room together. He was so excited about getting a new room that he felt sorry that his little brother was getting all his old stuff."

16. Set expectations about what babies are really like.
"One of the best things that we did to tame the jealousy was to sit down with our four-year-old and look at pictures of her as a baby, sleeping on Daddy, nursing with me, and stressed how much time and love we gave her because 'babies need so much.' She could see that she got all that attention, too, and when the baby arrived, she really seemed to understand when Mommy or Daddy needed to hold the baby."

17. Introduce them to other babies.
"In order to prepare my son for the upcoming arrival, we visited babies in our neighborhood. Our friends were gracious enough to let him hold their babies and even help out with diaper changes and baths. By the time his sister came along, he was comfortable knowing just what these little bundles were all about and when she cried or fussed, he wasn't upset or scared."

18. Create a special present for the baby.
"My daughter loves to do arts and crafts and we made a special T-shirt from her to the new baby that said, 'I am Kayla's baby brother!' When Michael was born and my husband brought her to the hospital, she was so proud to bring her creation and present it to her new brother."

19. Have a present from the baby for the older sibling(s).
"Before my son was born, we picked out a present for our three-year-old daughter on his behalf, and wrote out a note to her from him that said how excited he was to have her as his big sister. We gave it to her when we were opening baby presents a few days after his birth. It really struck a chord with her -- when her birthday came around a few weeks later, she wanted to know why no one had gotten presents for her brother, too!"

20. Make them part of the welcoming committee.
"My husband and I didn't treat our unborn child as just 'ours.' We let our son know that this was his baby too. When the baby was born, my older son was incredibly excited. He visited me in the hospital several hours after I gave birth and bypassed me totally -- he wanted to hold his new brother!"

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