dealing with sibling rivalryDon’t believe everything you see in advertisements and on TV shows … those always-smiling, never-arguing children simply don’t exist. From squabbles during family time to fights over toys at daycare, siblings are their own best friends and biggest opponents.

A couple things you should know about sibling rivalry:

  • You’re not alone. Sibling rivalry is a basic function of early learning – in fact, competing for parental attention and affection is embedded in our DNA as a function of evolution. Virtually every family with more than one child experiences some degree of sibling rivalry.
  • There’s no “cure.” Sure, family time that is fun, warm and engaging will strengthen the bonds of siblings, but the fundamental “me first” instinct will always be somewhere in your child’s mind. Maturity can give children different perspectives that can help them control their tempers and impulses.

How can you deal with it?

  • Don’t “over-share.”Certainly, learning to share is crucial to a child’s development, but you can balance those lessons by providing toddlers and children with that special feeling that comes with having something that’s exclusively theirs. So make some toys community property – and others exclusive to only that child.
  • Allow ownership of the sibling experience. An older sibling who’s jealous of her baby brother is one who is sure that she’s being eclipsed by the new arrival. Empower her by asking for her help – bringing over diapers and toys, showing how to make the baby smile, and so on.
  • Keep personalities separate.If one daughter is a tomboy and the other a princess, avoid trying to make one into the other. It’s not unusual for siblings to have wildly different interests, and respecting each one’s unique approach to life can lessen the risk of jealousy or resentment.

For more tips on dealing with sibling rivalry be sure to talk to your child's Horizon Education teacher. And remember that in the summer, when school is out, Horizon is in! Click here to learn more about our summer camp program!

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