Teaching Kids: How to Stop Fighting
How Nannies Can Help Siblings Get Along
While parents hope that their children grow up to become best of friends, they can expect brothers and sisters to fight, bicker and argue their way there. In any family with siblings, sibling rivalry will likely rear its ugly head.
Nannies who accept posts caring for siblings quickly learn that helping siblings get along is an important part of their daily duties and responsibilities.
For nannies to effectively manage sibling rivalry, however, they must understand why it exists. Siblings may compete for parental or caregiver attention, toys or accolades. They may fight or argue because they desire to have their parent or caregivers undivided attention. They may also fight because they do not want to share their toys or their belongings. Some brothers and sisters tend to fight more simply because they have different temperaments.
Fortunately for parents and nannies of siblings, there are strategies that can help reduce sibling rivalry and fighting. For example, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with their parents each day can help reduce fights that stem from a desire to have undivided attention. Nannies can help facilitate alone time by spending time with one child with the parents spend time with the other. Even reading a short story or spending 10 to 15 minutes giving a child a bath each day can reduce sibling rivalry.
When nannies are caring for an older child and a newborn, when both children have a need, perhaps the baby is due for a bottle but the toddler is asking for a drink, meeting the older toddler’s needs first, when possible, can help to reduce negative feelings he has for the baby.
Each child is a unique individual with different needs. Parents and nannies must become masters of meeting one child’s needs without sacrificing the needs of the other.
10 Tips for Helping Siblings to Stop Fighting
For parents and nannies dealing with sibling rivalry, it can be frustrating when the kids don’t get along. Fortunately for parents and nannies trying to help siblings get along, there’s several tips that can help them do just that.
1. Teach negotiation skills. Parents and nannies can teach children how to negotiate and solve problems. Helping children to put words to their feelings and to take turns speaking can help them learn to effectively solve problems.
2. Spend time alone with each child. Committing to spending a few minutes each day with each child can reduce sibling rivalry. Having special “date nights” or even taking one child to run errands can ways to spend time alone together.
3. Enforce rules consistently. Having a clearly communicated set of roles and consistently enforcing it can help siblings to feel like they are on a level playing field.
4. Avoid favoritism. While parents and caregivers don’t intentionally play favorites, it’s important to consider each child’s perceptions of how they are viewed.
5. Reinforce fair doesn’t mean equal. Each child has a unique set of needs. Perhaps one child outgrew her shoes and needs a new pair. Just because you buy one child a pair, doesn’t mean the other needs one too.
6. Give children a few of their own things. While there are lots of things siblings will be expected to share, give each child a few things that are their own possessions. One child’s favorite stuffed toy or prized possession should be off limits to the other.
7. Encourage kindness. When you catch siblings being kind to each other, praise them for it! Make a point to praise siblings when they are getting along, sharing and trying to work things out on their own.
8. Reduce competition. Instead of encouraging siblings to one up each other, encourage them to set their own goals and strive to reach them. Encourage each child’s strengths and provide opportunities for them to excel.
9. Avoid comparisons. It can be so tempting to say “She’s so much more athletic than her brother” or “She’s the shy one” but don’t. There’s enough natural competition without adults adding to it.
10. Stay out of it when you can. Forget trying to figure out who started it and avoid choosing sides. Once you choose sides, regardless of who is right or wrong, you send the message that you support one child and not the other.
While sibling rivalry is par the course, if the fighting becomes so severe it becomes bullying, interrupts family functioning or becomes physically or emotionally harmful, parents should seek professional help.
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