Sibling rivalry can turn a peaceful home into a battle ground. Rebekah shares tips for balancing the competing needs of siblings, especially when a new baby is on the way.
- Involve your toddler in baby’s arrival. Let then them choose a new outfit, come to a doctors’ appointment and share ideas for baby’s name – be prepared for Elsa or Olaf! Tell stories of what they did as a baby and make time to play a favourite game together so that they don’t miss out on one on one time with you.
- Set family rules that always include looking out for each other. Use the phrase ‘in our family we…’ to outline the type of behaviour expected. Model this as adults, making sure there is zero tolerance for name calling, physical fighting and yelling. Set the rules together so that everyone is clear on the consequences of breaking them. This could include stopping the car for fighting in the back seat or taking turns to play with a favourite toy. Reward the behaviour you want to see using language like ’I love the way you are sharing the sand toys – well done for being kind to each other’.
- Foster the interests and abilities of each child individually without drawing comparisons. This enables each child will grow in the confidence and knowledge of their own talents rather than feeling like they are competing with their brothers and sisters. When a new baby is getting a lot of attention remember to compliment the older child also.
While a change to family dynamics can be stressful for a young child to understand, soon enough they’ll realise that new brothers and sisters make the best play mates right throughout their lives.
Posted: Sat 01 Jul 2017