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Bringing a new baby into the family is a big adjustment. It can be challenging not only for mom and dad, who now need to learn to juggle more than one child, but also for the first born, who must adjust from being an only child to an older sibling.

We have some tips to help you navigate this transition, so your little one is ready to embrace their new little brother or sister when they arrive.

Begin the conversation early.
As soon as you’re ready, be sure to start introducing the idea of the new baby to your first born. Depending on their age, explain as much as you can about your family growing and that a new child will be coming to your home. You might choose to read a story to your child, which deals with a growing family, even a growing family of cute bunny rabbits or elephants or whatever your child would love. Allow them to ask questions, but do what you can, not to overwhelm them with information. Emphasize from the beginning their new role in the family and how important it is.

Get them involved in the preparations.
Depending on your child’s age, find a way to get them involved in the preparations for the new baby. They can create a new piece of art for the baby’s room or just tag along with you shopping. Let them feel a part of the decisions so they’re reminded of their role in the family. Once the baby arrives, planning a special portrait session for the two of them can be a very meaningful experience.

Check in with them.
Keep the conversation going throughout your pregnancy. As they see the changes to their mother’s body as well as their home, they’ll have questions. Children are also remarkably perceptive and can pick up emotions and stress in the home. Let them know they’re safe and being heard so they don’t feel left out. If you absolutely have to move your child out of their crib or to a new bedroom, then do it with love and sensitivity. Make it fun and compelling, so they don’t feel like they are being replaced.

Praise them for their effort.
As your child prepares to be a sibling, be sure to acknowledge the steps they take to embrace their new role. Encourage them and praise them and let them know being a big brother or sister is a big deal and that they’ll be great at it. They’ll probably be nervous about how this affects them and they need to be congratulated for navigating the change well.

Plan a special event.
As the due date gets closer, plan a party, trip or outing to celebrate the arrival of the new baby as well as your time as a threesome. Take this opportunity to remind them how special this time of your lives was, but that you’ll have so many amazing new memories with your new, larger family. Try to incorporate their favorite foods or activities and take plenty of photos and videos to commemorate the event.

While these steps of preparation won’t guarantee an adjustment period without a few hiccups, they can help sow the seeds for a stronger bond between the kids that will grow into a beautiful relationship for years to come. Now it’s time to get excited to see your family continue to grow. Feel it and share it with your first born.

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