Q. “How do I get my three-year-old ready for his new baby brother or sister?”
A. My goodness, an answer similar to the “bath” answer: Books, songs, meeting families with a sibling and simple discussions.
Resist the urge to over explain the situation or burden him with more things to do: “You’ll have so much fun teaching her to play ball and swing.” The answer or unspoken thoughts could be, “I’m busy enough already with preschool and my own swinging. Who needs another kid to teach?!”
Make sure that you’re ready. Enlist friends, relatives (Dad!!!) to pay special attention to the “senior” member of this two-child team. Extra time in the park, play dates and more. Actually, in addition to bringing a nice special gift for the big brother, I recommend that Grandma and other relatives virtually ignore the new baby in the three-year-old’s presence.
Expect a pretty fair amount of annoyance, confusion and occasional flat out tantruming as his world turns a little bit upside down. He probably won’t express great anger at the baby: It will be directed at you! Fortunately, your shoulders are broader than the baby’s and you can take it secure in knowing that he’s really OK, still loves you (I promise he does!) and will be even more OK when that little four- or five-month-old smiles and laughs at his slapstick humor. But, as the old joke goes, how easily would you be convinced that a brand new second wife is a good idea?? (“Isn’t she cute? You two will be such good friends! I’ll need to spend a lot more time with her at first but then . . . Isn’t she so cute??”)