Sibling Rivalry: How to Broker Peace in Your Household Among Very Young...

Sibling Rivalry: How to Broker Peace in Your Household Among Very Young Children


–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – CONTEXTO LATINO)–Having two or more young children in a household can be a huge task for any parent. In addition to multiple mouths to feed, backs to cloth and cries to sooth, parents also have more relationships to nurture. Worrying about whether your children will get along is a typical concern for any parent with multiple children. Early childhood experts at Parents as Teachers National Center say children need guidance to help them prepare for change, sort through their feelings and learn to get along with others. Parents as Teachers suggests several ways parents can foster positive relationships among siblings.

Before introducing a new child

Start preparing your child and encourage positive thinking even before the new baby arrives. “Children are very keen to change and will know that something is coming, especially once mom’s belly begins to grow,” explained Kerry Caverly, early childhood expert with Parents as Teachers National Center. “It’s important to clue your child in to your pregnancy early and start talking to your child about becoming an older sibling.” To do this you can share books with your child about the joy of becoming a big sister or brother. Talk to your child about all the exciting things he will get to do when the new baby arrives and make sharing sound like fun. Encourage your child to draw pictures and help select toys and clothes for the new baby. Provide your child with opportunities to make friends and socialize with other children so he is accustomed to sharing and playing with others. Try not to use your pregnancy as an excuse for not doing certain things with your child like get down on the floor and play.

After baby comes home

Once the baby is born, provide opportunities for your children to bond and create an inclusive environment. Help your older child feel important too by telling him how he makes the baby smile or laugh. Give your child a stuffed animal or doll so he also has something to care for and model after you. Your child will learn to be nurturing and see how important it is to care for a younger sibling. Encourage your older child to show the baby how to do big girl or big boy things like put the toys away or eat food. Let your child help care for the baby with age-appropriate activities like picking out the baby’s outfit. This will teach your child the joy and responsibility of being an older sibling and he will most likely revel in the opportunity to make and do more “grown-up” activities. It is important not to push your child into doing anything he doesn’t want to do, though; be prepared for things to not always go smoothly. “Your older child might act-up or misbehave to get attention or relieve frustration,” said Caverly. “Talk to your child about how he is feeling, express your understanding and provide comfort like hugs.”

Maintaining relationships as your children grow

As your youngest child becomes a toddler or preschooler, you might see your children argue over a toy or hit each other with blocks. You can correct misbehavior but try not to give it too much attention. Instead encourage them to work out their problems on their own. Applaud your children when they share and get along. This will entice them to do things to get your praise. Refrain from assigning labels to your children — calling one the smart child or one the athletic child — it will make one feel more special than the other. However, don’t worry about making everything equal between your children. Every child is different and will need different things at different times. Just be sure to give all your children attention and help each feel involved.

Sibling Rivalry: How to Broker Peace in Your Household Among Very Young Children