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A Training Manual for Older Siblings

Sibling rivalry can't compete with smart suggestions for helping threatened toddlers welcome a new brother or sister.

When children learn that a younger sibling is on the way, they are excited by the news. But they may also feel threatened by the new arrival. Specifically, they may fear that the newcomer will get some (or all) of the parental attention and affection they currently enjoy.

It is vital to remind older children that they have a key role to play in welcoming the new baby and helping out as a big brother or big sister. To help parents prepare older siblings for this important responsibility, author Bruce Lansky has created "When I'm a Big Sister" and "When I'm a Big Brother" (www.MeadowbrookPress.com).

The books are the latest in his popular write-in book series that has sold more than 250,000 copies. Like the other books in the series, "When I'm a Big Sister" and "When I'm a Big Brother" allow readers to insert a photo on the final page. This photo appears throughout the book because of the hole in the cover and on successive pages.

Pasting your child's picture into the book will allow his or her smiling face to appear at the center of the book's illustrations, which portray the role that big brothers and sisters play in the development of their younger siblings.

The blank spaces in the text allow the child to use a permanent marker to record his or her plans for becoming a big sibling.

Just writing their thoughts -- in essence, becoming the author of a book -- will make older kids feel special at a time when they are most vulnerable. But more important, the book will serve as a training manual for them.

They will read and write about helping their mothers during pregnancy, getting the house ready for the baby and assisting in the care of the infant. In this way, they will see how vital they are in their role as big brother or big sister. Rather than feel threatened, they will understand that they are more important than ever. They will see that their parents are counting on them and that they are irreplaceable.

In addition, the book will become an heirloom of a memorable time in the life of a family. Older siblings will have a permanent record of how they felt when their little sibling came along. And they will see just how special they are and how much they helped in this most important of duties.

Helping their children write this book gives parents a chance to discuss the issues involved and position the opportunity to become a big brother or sister in the most favorable light. "When I'm a Big Sister" and "When I'm a Big Brother" are unique in that there are no other books on the market that help children plan for this important rite of passage.

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