How do you prepare a 3 yr old for a new baby?

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Rachel - posted on 01/12/2010

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My second baby is due 2 days after my son turns 3. There are a couple of good threads on here with TONS of suggestions - maybe try a search? Some of the things we are trying: talking about him being a "big brother", reading books to him about being an older sibling, telling him there is a "baby in momma's belly", bringing him to the ultrasounds... Some people recommend "practicing" being gentle with a baby doll or large stuffed animal. Our son already has a "baby bear" that he won't let the dog touch, so we haven't spent a lot of time on that.

Mostly he had no idea yet and that seems to be common from the other posts I've seen. From what I've heard, when they are this young they simply won't really grasp the concept until new baby comes home. I've also heard that buying the older child a gift when the baby comes home from the hospital helps ease the transition.

Also, since my son still points to his pictures and refers to himself as "the baby", we are calling our new child "little baby" to help him understand that our son is the big boy and is expected to help watch out for the little baby. He seems to understand the idea of a little baby, but not that one will be living with us. Videos on youtube about babies laughing and being cute make him pretty excited, though again, he doesn't seem to understand yet that a new one will be living with us.

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Amy - posted on 09/30/2013

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Little different situation.....my grandsons mom is having another baby by a different dad. How do yoi explain why he visits with us but not the baby? The new childs father will probably mot be involved and things not nice between my son and grandsons mom.

Theresa - posted on 01/18/2010

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My oldest two are 3 years apart. I told my son that we were going to have a baby. Then I told him that at first the baby wouldn't be fun, but after a few months it would smile at him and then in a few more months it would play with him. I told him that a frist all babies do is eat, sleep and poop. He would tell everyone that. It was cute. After our second son was born I made sure to give 1st son time with me so that he didn't feel left out. I was tired for the first few months because I felt I should spend time with him while baby slept. Then a couple months later he started preschool and it gave me time for a few much needed naps.

Lauren - posted on 01/16/2010

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You can help to prepare by letting him help with things. Once the baby is here, you can let him help in anyway that he can. Even though babies take a lot of attention, make sure he gets lots of attention also or you end up with jelous issues. I know from experience. We had people do that. Also something that will help once the baby is born. When you go out to places, let him help pick out the baby's outfit so when the baby gets a lot of attention you can point out that he picked out the outfit so that he gets a lot of attention also. When someone says how adorable your baby is, tell him that they are talking about him too because he shares the same parents and they look alike. It is great to see the beaming that is done over that one. They actually point out the baby to strangers just to get them to call the baby adorable. It is just great. All of these have helped out a lot. Hope this helps you.

Alexis - posted on 01/16/2010

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i just had my son hes now a week old and i have a liitle girl who is 3 1/2.she is doing great with her baby brother.when i was pregnant and big i would let her feel him move and she would go to the ultra sounds and doctors appointment.we would practice with her dolls and she has her own little bassinet and strollers for her dolls and she loved that.i try involving her with picking out his clothes or getting diapers or wipes to kinda help change him things like that so she doesnt feel left out.she has been doing very well with him but sort of acting out in a different way.like her attitude.which i know its because theres alot going on with the new baby and all.so yes i do agree it is important to have one on one time with the older child.also when i read my daughter a bedtime story i let her pick a small book and try to read to him and she sings to him to try and make him stop crying.just little things like that.i think 3 is a good age to introduce a new sibling..i think it would be alot more difficult if they were younger and have a harder time understanding.good luck!

Tina - posted on 01/15/2010

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All of this is great advice! My son was almost three when my daughter was born and one thing that is so important is to make special time with each child. Each child needs to know they are loved and special. My son adjusted well but had his moments and that's when I knew I needed some special one-on-one time with him. Now I am pregnant with my third and I am needing help with how you prepare a 2-year-old for a new baby! Girls are so different!

Emmylou - posted on 01/13/2010

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i'd say just get them involved as much as possible, they can be a real good help, and make sure you have special time for just you and your other child once a day so that you can avoid saying wait a minute or later you tell them you'll do it in your special time, they love that alone time with you and that it belongs to them

Adrienne - posted on 01/12/2010

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I have a 2 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old that I'm trying to prepare for the new baby that's due in April. When my stomach started getting bigger I would say there's a baby in side. I also try to get them to feel my stomach when the baby is moving or kicking. Or if we see pictures of a baby I'll point to the picture and then to my belly saying that's in mommy's belly. I show them the ultra sound pictures. The last thing I did was I bought the book "The new baby" by mercer. Good Luck

AJ - posted on 01/12/2010

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When we got pregnant it was a surprise, my stepson aiden was two at the time and 3 by the time i got large. We waited for him to ask why i was getting so big, we then explained to him he was going to have a little sister, after that we involved him in the getting ready for the baby, helping with the crib, let him pick out an outfit for her ect... Letting him know he would be a big part of the baby being here helped him alot. Also when he was watching nick jr or a movie and someone in that show had a sibling i would tell him "look they have a little sister too look how they help", its also a good idea to get them to start understanding the "gentle gentle" approach that needs to be taken with a new child.

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