The world is waiting for the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's second child. Like thousands of other families in the same position, it will be the first born child whose life is about to be changed forever. Over many years of helping families to adjust well to the arrival of baby number two, I have collected some ideas which I have written as a letter to Prince George.
Dear George (if I may)
I hope you don't mind me writing to you as we have never met, and I am fairly sure we never will. You're not quite two years old, but as your little life is about to turn upside down with your mum having another baby, I wondered if I might share with you a few ideas that can help when a new baby arrives in a family.
I guess you have noticed mummy's tummy is really big now, and perhaps she is yawning a lot, Does she keep going to the loo? The baby inside her is ready to be born, so she needs some rest to save up lots of energy to get the baby out. Just like the day you were born, your parents, family and friends will be excited and happy to celebrate the baby's arrival. People will bring flowers, presents, (some for you!) balloons and messages of congratulations. You will see loads of people around with cameras too. It will be a very exciting and busy time. If it all feels a bit too much you might just want everyone to go away, including the baby, so you can just be with mum and dad.
If you look around, you'll spot many families with two or more children. Having a new baby in the family can feel a bit strange to start with, but here are some tips that have helped many children your age, and their parents at this exciting time.
1. The baby - Everyone will want to know if it is a boy or a girl. They will also talk a lot about how much the baby weighs, and if it has any hair yet, and how long it took for mum to push the baby out. I know these can sound like odd things to talk about, but there we are, you'll know by now that grown ups sometimes are interested in surprising things.
2. Babies can look a bit squashed and wrinkly. They can make a lot of noise too. They can't do anything for themselves yet like walking, talking and eating like you can. You might think all they do is sleep, feed, cry and fill their nappy. You were like this when you were born - we all were, even your great grandmother. Ask mum and dad to show you some photos of you or perhaps they have a DVD you can see. Do you have a favourite toy, or a blanket that you were given as a baby that you still love now?
3. Just like you, babies love lots of cuddles and kisses from mum and dad and the family. If you sit down on one of your lovely big sofas with a grown up, I'm sure you can have a cuddle with the baby too, if you want to. Smell the top of the babies' head, and use your tiniest finger to feel how soft its cheeks are.
4. Visitors - you know how I said everyone would be really excited? Well, that means lots people will want to come and see the new baby. Ask mum and dad if they can encourage visitors to pop in during the evening when you're fast asleep. That way, you don't have to put up with all these people asking you what you think about your new baby brother or sister.
5. Your normal day - Is it like this? Wake up, breakfast, playtime, run about outside, lunch time, nap, more playtime, tea time, bath time, stories and bed. Don't' worry, your lovely family will make sure all of this will still happen even if everyone seems to be really busy with the baby.
6. Mum and Dad - they may look a bit worn out, and still yawn a lot, but they will want you to know that they, and all the rest of your family love you very much and they always will. The amazing thing is George; parents have enough room in their hearts to love you, and the new baby. There is plenty of love to go round, forever.
7. Finally, you might think the baby is a bit boring for a while, but as you both grow up together, you will both have each other to play with, and get up to some mischief! Ask mum and dad what they remember about their brothers and sisters when they were children. A great thing about having a sibling is that you can share family jokes that no one else in the world will find funny.
So George, I will think of you on the day the baby is born, along with billions of others who will all want you to have a happy and fun day. I hope this letter is of some help- do show it to your parents. Sending a hug to you, if I may,
Judy Reith xx
For more parenting ideas from Judy Reith, visit www.parentingpeople.co.uk