Getting brothers and sisters to look out for each other can be easier than many parents realize. It helps to plan family activities that are fun for everyone. If your kids have good experiences together, it can be a buffer when they come into conflict. It’s easier to work things out with someone with whom you share warm memories.
One thing to try: Read books or watch movies about family interactions together—and ask your youngsters how they would act in the various situations the characters get into.
Here are some additional tips from the experts at the University of Michigan:
Most important: Don’t play favorites.
Try not to compare your children to one another.
Let each child be who he or she is. Don’t try to pigeonhole or label them.
Enjoy each of your children’s individual talents and successes.
Set your kids up to cooperate rather than compete. For example, have them race the clock to pick up clothes, instead of racing each other.
See if there’s a time of day or other pattern when conflicts usually occur. Perhaps a change in the routine, an earlier meal or snack or a well-planned quiet activity could make a difference.
Teach your kids positive ways to get attention from each other.
Remember, being fair is not the same as being equal. Children of different ages may have different privileges and responsibilities.
Explain your decisions and reassure your kids that you do your best to meet each of their unique needs.
Make sure each child has enough time and space of his or her own.
NORTH AMERICAN PRECIS SYNDICATE, INC.