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4 ways to introduce a sibling to your only child

Introducing a baby to a child that has been your only one for years can be difficult.
Introducing a baby to a child that has been your only one for years can be difficult.
Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

No matter the age, introducing a sibling can be difficult. It can be even more difficult when your child has been an only child for a long time. For instance, my son will be four before his first sibling arrives. When this happens, the transition to having a baby in the house can be difficult because babies need a lot of attention, and your eldest can sometimes feel left out or not as important. When it comes to making the transition, there are several things you can do to make the transition easier and not such a shock.

1. Tell your child early on. As soon as you find out, tell your child so that they know what to expect, know that you're not just in a mood just because, and that you need to take naps with them because your tired too. By telling your child early on, you can also account for the physical change that your body is going to make that your child will notice. Download apps like Baby Center that will show you pictures of the baby's growth and what's happening week by week.

2. Involve your child in as many decisions about the baby as possible. While you don't have to let them pick the name, (my kiddo suggested I name the baby Cheetoh if it's a girl.) let them help paint the baby's room, or choose clothes for the baby. When the baby gets here, allow their older sibling to help feed, cuddle, or even dress and change them so that they are as involved as possible in the baby's life and they'll know that they are just as important.

3. Give your only child a baby doll that cries, you can feed, or that pees so they can accustom themselves with the needs of a baby. They will learn (before the baby gets here) to be gentle, that they need food, clothes, and fresh diapers. While many will say that boys shouldn't be playing with dolls, the reality of the fact is that it makes them more attentive fathers and better friends and siblings if they know what it's like to care for a baby.

4. Lastly, give your oldest child a gift from the baby once they arrive. This will help your child to know that their baby brother or sister also loves them as much as their parents.

Going from only child to oldest child can be a really difficult transition. However, starting early in your pregnancy can make the transition a little easier than just waiting for the baby to get here.

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