How to help your chil­dren be­come the best of friends

In the Moment - - Wellbeing -

Be a good role model

Of course we all en­deav­our to treat our chil­dren fairly. When there is an ar­gu­ment try not to take sides or lose your tem­per. If pos­si­ble, let them sort out their dif­fer­ences, but do step in if things are es­ca­lat­ing, and give each child the op­por­tu­nity to tell you their side of the story. Linda also sug­gests keep­ing your chil­dren away from ‘con­flict’ sit­u­a­tions – keep ar­gu­ments with your part­ner out of sight and sound, un­less you're sure you can han­dle them calmly and con­struc­tively.

Cel­e­brate their dif­fer­ences

If the age gap be­tween your chil­dren is small, it can be help­ful to high­light dif­fer­ences be­tween them in a pos­i­tive way, in par­tic­u­lar prais­ing each child's unique achieve­ments.

Make time for them

Spend time alone with each of your chil­dren. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant when a sec­ond child arrives – if pos­si­ble, ask some­one to look af­ter the baby while you take your el­dest to the park for an hour. Don’t aban­don rit­u­als that your rst-born loved shar­ing with you.

Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key

While sib­ling ri­valry isn’t nec­es­sar­ily bad, it’s im­por­tant not to let it get out of hand. Find non-con­fronta­tional times to talk about sit­u­a­tions that have arisen, and deal with any emo­tions or feel­ings that are still caus­ing prob­lems.

Co-op­er­a­tion, not com­pe­ti­tion

Show your chil­dren how co-op­er­a­tion can be re­ward­ing. Set co-op­er­a­tive tasks (such as build­ing some­thing to­gether) rather than com­pet­i­tive ones (who can tidy their room rst).

Play to each child’s strengths

Find an ac­tiv­ity that each child is good at – it might be art, sport or colour­ing in – and en­cour­age them to de­velop their own in­ter­ests.

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