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When I found out we were having a second child we knew right away that we would have our first son, who was three and a half at the time, involved in every aspect we could.  We wanted him to know what was happening and be ready for the adjustment on his life. After all a new baby is a big change for everyone involved.  Also, since most of our friends had had children with-in a year and a half before this, he knew about where babies came from and had already gotten experience with them.  We knew he would be able to understand at least the basic idea of what was going on and how it might affect him.

 We took our son to hear the heart beat for the first time.  He was at the ultrasound and found out with us that he was going to have a baby brother.  We made it very clear that everything about this was special and that he was to be part of it all.  He was very happy about the idea of becoming a big brother.

We had one false alarm, but our son was excited about it.  He was ready to camp out in the hospital.  He was a little disappointed when we went home only after a few hours without a baby. We explained to him that his brother was just not yet ready to come out of mommy and that we had to wait a little while longer.  He accepted this idea, but continued to talk to his brother in hopes of getting him to come out.

Finally the day came.  Our son was as excited as could be.  He watched everything he could.  As I was helping with the first bath, big brother was being held by his grandmother so he could look through the window and see his baby brother.

He really loves his baby brother. Some days almost too much, that is when we have to pull him away before he can smother the little guy. We still have some of the inescapable problems that will happen between children, such as the sharing of toys and personal space issues.  Yet our first son has adapted really well to having another child around. He knows it is something special to be a big brother and have an addition to the family.

And our baby boy knows his big brother already.  He is now crawling and is more likely to chase after his brother over anyone else.  You can already see a connection building between the two of them, which will hopefully stay strong in the future.  It is something to see them both laughing and playing together.  I would be very surprised if our eldest could even remember life without his baby brother.  Things just clicked perfectly with the new addition to the family.

I have known couples who have decided to not include their children in the birth of a new child.  They think that their children are too young to understand and that it is best to just not confuse them with the idea of a new addition to the family.  This does not seem to help at all.  The eldest child always seems to find the new baby an intruder in the house.  The child will act aggressively towards this unwanted creature. I am always puzzled when the parents find this to be surprising. Did they really think such a sudden change in just about every aspect of their lives would be easy for a child?  Although from what I have seen these parents are often the ones who they themselves are not ready for such a change.

A child is very aware of changes in its world from a very early age.  Do not assume a child is to young to be told what is going on.  Most of the time they do get something out of being told of changes, even if they do not understand all of it.  Your best chance at getting a good start to a healthy sibling relationship is to do all you can to make sure the older child knows about what is happening and is ready for it.