New Baby Coming Home? Baby Planner Tips on How to Prepare Your Child for a New Sibling.

Preparing for a new baby and all the details therein can be a bit overwhelming. Add the fact that the preparation includes a sibling (or more), and the stress level can increase very quickly. Here are a few tried and true tips I have found to be beneficial in helping siblings cope with a new baby. As with anything, keeping in mind your child?s age and personality will be key. 

· Sharing the news of your pregnancy as early as possible to allow your child(ren) to get used to the upcoming arrival is a good idea. Of course you may want to make sure that you are out of what you may feel is the ?danger zone? of the first three months before doing so. But giving them time to process the information and get used to the idea is the way to go. 

· Introducing the baby while still pregnant will allow your child(ren) the opportunity to talk to him/her. The more they are getting to know the baby while it is still in the uterus the more they will feel already acquainted when the baby arrives. Informing your child(ren) that the baby can hear their voice and that it may respond with kicks or movement is also very exciting for them. 

· Taking your child to one or more of your doctor?s visits will build excitement as well. This is especially true when hearing the heartbeat or seeing a sonogram. Seeing and hearing the baby will add to the realization that it is really there and on its way. 

· You may or may not choose to find out the sex of your baby. Doing so can also be a great way for your child to become acquainted with the new little one. Along with this comes naming the baby. Letting your child become part of the baby-naming process is fun for them. When we were in the process of naming our last baby each member of the family chose about five names they liked and all of the names were put on the fridge. We would review each other?s names and comment on the ones we liked. It was surprising how we really agreed on the names we liked. Children feel important when involved in these kinds of details. 

· Bringing out pictures of your other children when they were babies and talking about how excited you were when they were on their way makes them feel special too. They come to realize through your stories that you went through a lot of preparation and excitement when you were expecting them as well.

· Preparing your child(ren) for what to expect when you go to the hospital for the birth of the baby will be important as well. This is especially true for younger children who could be afraid when mommy and daddy rush out of the house to head for the hospital. Let them know what is going to happen and who will be looking after them if they are not going to leave for the hospital when you do.

· Once you are home with the new little one you will want to let them help you out as much as possible. Little ones love to bring you a diaper when needed or help bathe the baby by pouring little cups of water over their arms and legs. Little things mean a lot to them when they feel they are helping to care for the baby. This may mean a little more time to complete each task and a little more patience on your end but it really does pay off. 

· Do try to spend one-on-one with your other children whenever possible. Make the most of these times and let your child know how special and loved they are. It is important to capture these times as often as you can.

· When discipline problems arise ? and they will ? do handle them with consistency and just as you would before the baby arrived. It is imperative that your children see that, new baby or not, their behavior must remain in check. 

· Most of all, relax. Children sense tension. And tension can breed more tension. Try not to overreact. Try to let your other children touch, hold, and play with the baby as much as they want. After all, this is their way of bonding. Don?t be afraid that they will break the baby. Babies are pretty resilient and they love the attention of their brothers and/or sisters.

You can have a happy home and happy children. As with most situations, preparation is the key.