If you have more than one child, you are familiar with the term ‘sibling rivalry’. If your children are less than two years apart, you are intimately familiar with sibling rivalry. It seems almost natural that children who spend so much time together and are so close in age would eventually get on one anotherâ€™s nerves. Perhaps a little sibling rivalry is even healthy, but too much and you risk damage to the relationship.
Here are a few ways to keep sibling rivalry at a low hum versus DEFCON 1
- Never take sides. If you walk into the middle of two fighting children, separate and talk to them individually. Avoid belittling one in front of the other.
- Try to get kids to work together towards a common goal; i.e. planning an activity or earning a common reward.
- Set limits for intolerable behavior. Let them know that if they cannot resolve the problem on their own in a reasonable amount of time, time outs will be issued. Time outs should be 5 minutes for each year of life; i.e. 20 minutes for a four year old.
- Do not compare children to one another; this will foster competition and not encourage working cohesively.
- Teach children to take turns and share. This can be easily done with the use of an egg timer.
- Teach children the Count to 10 technique. Stop, breathe, count and think before they act.
- Empathy. Teach children to consider how their actions may be making their sibling feel. Make it easily identifiable to them.
Photo Source: Aislinn Ritchie