It is common to see sibling rivalries when you have two children or more. The few reasons for that are due to personality clashes and individual traits but sometimes they may exist because you, as a parent, may have unknowingly fostered an environment which promoted them. If this is a common sight for you now and you are seeking for a much more peaceful, positive and loving family… you may want to follow the 5 tips below to avoid sibling rivalry in your household!
#1 – Introduce Your Unborn Child To Your Child(ren)
If you are currently pregnant, it is extremely important to have your oldest child to accept the existence and make friends before the birth of their soon-to-be brother or sister. If you have only one child, at this moment, it is common for the child to enjoy his or her special position as the center of attention in the household. And now given the fact that there will be a new member joining the household soon and that you need to spend more time, attention and effort on your newborn, your child will often see a newborn as a threat to their current pampered position.
So before you give birth, make an effort to explain to your child that a baby is growing inside of mommy’s tummy. Let him feel the baby kick, and talk or sing to your unborn child with him. You may even want to include your unborn in the picture when you are spending time with your child. During these times, you may even want to show your child pictures of him when he was a newborn. Pediatric experts believe that these are excellent ways to develop a bond between your child and the newborn which is about to change the family dynamic.
#2 – Make Sure That You Share Time Evenly
As we mentioned in our introduction, sometimes you may just be the cause of sibling rivalry. We have such busy lives and hectic work schedules, it is very difficult to always ensure that you spend equal time on quality activities with your children. But this is extremely important if you don’t want to create a “favorite child” atmosphere. Brand-new babies require constant attention and we all know that. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore their older siblings especially when they are around while you attend to your newborn. While feeding your baby, read a book to your other children, and make sure no one child feels left out or ignored. Do not attempt to use the television or tablets to substitute your presence.
#3 – Reward Positive Sharing Behavior
When you see one of your children sharing their own treasured toys or possessions with another, reward that behavior with praises and personal attention (do this more as compared to buying them something). Children are incredible sponges. They absorb all of the activities and actions they see around them, whether you know they are watching or not. Many childcare experts believe that a child’s personality is developed before the age of 4 or 5. So reward sharing behavior, because this selfless act makes it harder for sibling rivalries to develop. You will also be reinforcing a beneficial life lesson.
#4 – Hold Regular Family Meetings
Especially when you have multiple children, you can never see and hear everything that goes on in your household. So it is a good idea to hold regular family meetings when your children are able to communicate well and start to voice out their opinions. This continually establishes you as the person in charge. It also gives every child time to air their grievances and say what is on their mind (you may be amazed at what they can say even at a young age). This is a great way to nip sibling rivalries in the bud, and also helps improve your child’s communication skills.
#5 – If One Of Your Children Is An Overachiever, Find Some Ways To Encourage The Siblings
One of the biggest causes for sibling rivalries is jealousy. If you have a child who receives top grades in school and is an excellent athlete, those achievements could create strife with her siblings. If you reward the special achievement of one of your children, involve the rest of your kids as well. Find ways to encourage the unique talents that each of your children possess, not just those which are socially recognized.