Preparing a toddler for a new baby

My baby is nearly two. The days of having new born in the house are gone... for now. (Who knows? That could all change.)

But the memories of bringing home Isaac are fresh in my mind. I wondered how Ryals would adjust. He was just 18 months old, and after all, still a baby

But we managed. Everyone survived and now my babies are three and 20 months and the best of toddler buddies. 

Today I wanted to share some of the things that worked for me. 

1. I started early. I really didn't know how much Ryals understood about what was happening in our family? Did he realize that mama's growing belly was a baby? Did he know he would have a new friend coming? 

But I started talking to him about it in very basic terms. I would say "you are Mama's baby and you will always be Mama's baby, but soon Mama and Daddy will have two babies." 

2. I got him involved in the process. 

We got out some of Ryals old baby clothes and I had him "help" me sort them. He helped me put things in the new baby's room and we spend lots of time in the new nursery. 

3. We went baby spotting. Every time we saw a baby in the grocery store, church or the library I would show him the baby, talk to him about how little the baby was and how we were getting a new baby at our house. 

4. We gave him a "baby" of his own. Ryals has a sweet little lamb doll that was given to him just a few weeks before his new brother arrived. I would tell him to rock the baby or put the baby in the bed. 

Of course these are not things that Ryals would ever do for the baby but I think it helped him feel a part of it all. 

5. We prayed for the new baby. Every night when we said nighttime prayers with Ryals we prayed for the new baby and that he would arrive safe and healthy. 

6. We told him what the plan was. I ended up having to be induced, but before we figured all of that out we told Ryals that he would be going to stay with Nana and PawPaw. We told him he would have lots of fun and get to play outside and do all of the fun things he does at their house. 

We told him that while he was at their house mama would have a new baby. 

I am pretty sure most of it went over his head, but I also feel like small children absorb way more than we realize. 

Okay, what about you? Have you had to prepare a young toddler for a new baby? What did you do?