Bringing home your baby is such an exciting and emotional time for a parent. After all the waiting and planning your little one is finally with becoming part of your family. But this can also be a confusing time for a big brother or sister. Suddenly they aren’t the only baby in the family and the routine has changed. This can be very overwhelming and even scary to a little kid. Luckily there are things you can do to help your child prepare and be excited for the arrival of their new sibling. Pre baby is a great time to bond and share with your child so she feels like she is part of the event.

Make sure you’re the one who shares the news of your pregnancy. Don’t wait for a relative or friend to make the announcement to your child. Hearing if from you gives them the chance to ask any questions and feel like this is a family event. Have both you and your spouse talk to your child together and make sure to share your excitement! Try not to overwhelm a young child with to much information. Tell her a baby is going to join the family and give her the due date and take it from there.

A sudden change from only child to one with a sibling can be very scary. Start to “wean” your child from her only child lifestyle well before the baby arrives. If she shares a room with you make it an event for her to get a “big girl room.” Not every change has to be attributed to the baby. Potty training or going to preschool are events you can celebrate with your child that don’t involve the arrival of the baby.

Taking part in baby preparation is a great way to help your child feel like she has some control over the situation. Ask her for her opinion on the color of the baby’s room or let her pick out a special outfit for the baby. Make her feel important by sharing things with her before anyone else knows, such as the name or sex of the baby. Sharing exciting secrets can help her feel like she has a special role to play.

It’s important to emphasize that this is a family event and she is as much a part of it as anyone else. Your child might feel pushed aside between all the new things for the baby, the baby shower and everyone paying attention to your growing belly. Have some special family time set aside where you can go on outings that you won’t be able to do once the baby comes. This is a great chance to treasure the moments you have you’re your child as your only one. The more involved she is the more she can feel like having a sibling will be an exciting adventure!