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Prince George, you are going to be a big brother soon!

By Kate Whiting

It will be months before the Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to baby number two, but it's never too early to start preparing her firstborn for the new arrival.

While speculation was at its most intense back in July, many people have been waiting for the news that baby George is going to be a brother since, well, the day after he was born last summer.

Kate is struggling with severe morning sickness again, and has cancelled all her upcoming engagements while she's treated, which should at least give her a little peace and quiet to really digest the fact that she's pregnant again, and to think about how she and husband William can best prepare George for the arrival of his new baby brother or sister.

Because – while being blessed with a second baby is wonderful, of course – it can be a big change for the older sibling too. Here are some top tips for welcoming the new addition ...

Telling George

Top priority will be how to break the news to Prince George, if she hasn't already. As he's only 13 months old he, most probably, won't grasp the concept that there's an even smaller baby on the way.

"It's really important to try and share the journey of a second baby with your firstborn," says mum-of-two Claire Spreadbury. "George is really young, so he won't really be aware, but Kate and William can show him a scan picture and talk about there being a baby in mummy's tummy.

"They can encourage him to talk to the growing bump as he gets older and the bump gets bigger, and get him involved with the nursery. Helping to choose colours and designs, while having a bit of a makeover in his room, will make him feel like a big boy."

Spreading the love

He'll be coming up for two by the time RB#2 arrives, which means there is a chance he could remember those early days of being a big brother for the rest of his life. But, he may also feel jealous and throw tantrums if he's not getting enough attention from Kate and Wills.

"It can be difficult for older children to accept a new addition to the family," agrees Jane Windle-Hartshorn, from the charity Family Lives (familylives.org.uk). "They can feel left out at the arrival of this demanding little person, and no matter how well you prepare your children for the arrival of a new baby, it can still be a shock. Although they react in different ways, they want to feel included, secure and be paid attention."

She advises dealing openly with feelings of jealousy, to help older children accept and understand the emotion. "Even if toddlers don't seem old enough to understand, they'll pick up that you care and are concerned."

Read them a story

Books can be a crucial tool in the armoury of any parent trying to explain a new arrival. My sister, Anna, had baby number two, a second daughter, in January.

She says: "While I was pregnant, we read lots of books about having a baby brother or sister to our daughter Ella, and they became her favourite bedtime stories. So she got really excited and was really looking forward to it happening in real life."

She recommends There's A House Inside My Mummy, by Giles Andreae and Vanessa Cabban, which shows pictures of how to help mummy.

Children's author Lauren Child has also just published The New Small Person (Puffin), which deals beautifully with the impact of a second baby on child number one.

Top tips for happy families

Jane Windle-Hartshorn recommends taking the following steps to make sure baby number two doesn't cause problems with baby number one:

  • Let them choose a present for the baby and let them unwrap presents from well-wishers.
  • Get them involved in choosing names for the baby.
  • Give them opportunities to care for the baby, such as pushing the pram, choosing baby's clothes, folding a blanket.
  • Don't force them to get involved.
  • Reassure your children that they are special and loved by giving them lots of hugs and kisses. Often, they may feel there isn't enough parental love for them any more.
  • Spend time with your other children away from the baby - if possible, get a babysitter.
  • Take one day at a time.

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