From sibling rivalry to learning how to share their toys, Future Kids’ Samantha Malkoun and Genevieve Newell provide coping tools for ever-expanding families…
Q.) My son is extremely jealous of his younger sister. What’s the solution?
A.) Sibling rivalry occurs most commonly because one child thinks the other is receiving more attention. Every child vies for their parent’s attention and the busier you are, the more competitive they become. The long-term impact of sibling rivalry depends on the parent’s effectiveness in dealing with the issue.
With very young children, sitting on the floor will make you more accessible to both your toddler and infant. As long as your toddler’s needs are met with attention, your younger child will grow in an environment where he has always known that your affection is shared. Arranging a lot of special one-on-one outings for an older child will make them feel a new sense of responsibility. I would suggest starting your day with this special time, whether it be reading, playing in the park or just talking – 20 minutes of togetherness and security should be enough to ward off any angry feelings toward the baby and set the path for a positive and happy day.
Q.) How do you get kids to share?
A.) Some children share happily and others are ferociously protective of ‘their’ things. However, children are all the same when it comes to other kids not sharing with them – no one likes it! A good way to reinforce the concept of sharing is to share something of yours with them. For example, most children want to eat what mummy or daddy is eating. Next time they ask, ‘can I have some?’ Point out that ‘actually, it’s mine, but I’ll SHARE some with you?’ They’re usually pretty chuffed and are happy to copy your behaviour. If they forget, remind them. Practice makes perfect.
Q.) How do you explain to an older child that their younger sibling will now be playing with some of their toys without them getting possessive?
A.) A good place to start is to get the older child to go through all their toys with you and put aside all the ones that are very precious to them (it is OK for them to have a few special toys), then make a pile of the ones they think their little brother or sister might enjoy. As you are doing this talk about sharing and what it means. As your older child will probably feel like they are loosing something in this deal, it might be a nice idea to get some ‘new to them’ toys or books to help with the adjustment.
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