Helping your first get used to your second

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When we found out that our second child was going to be a girl late in our third trimester, the only person we told was our then two-year-old daughter. She was so excited to find out that she was going to have a sister, and I think that letting her in on the secret really helped her bond with the baby before she was born. In fact, the night that my water broke, I tiptoed into her room to give her a kiss and let her know that the baby was coming. I was worried she'd be sad or scared, but instead she kissed me back, then rolled over one more time to instruct me, "Mama? Just don't bring home a boy."

That anticipation and excitement lasted until about the second day we were home, then the adjustment period set in. It was hard on all of us. I was used to giving her all of my attention, she was used to getting it. It was a juggling act, making sure both of my daughters got the love and attention they deserved, and that no one felt left out. My memories of that time are a blur -- breastfeeding, diaper changes, no sleep, tantrums. But then one day, I was lying in bed with the two of them when my younger was about 4-months-old. My older daughter turned to her and started making faces and the baby just could not stop giggling. It was the first time I'd seen them interact on their own level, as sisters. I realized then we were going to be OK.

Are you expecting a baby and aren't sure how to prepare your older child? Canadian Living has some tips for parents of toddlers to teens to help your family adjust to its newest member. How did you get your kids ready for a new sibling?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.