3 Tips to Create Harmony Between Siblings~ by Rob Lobitz
Do you have more than 1 small child? Has sibling rivalry reared its ugly head? Are you at your wits end trying to figure out how to put an end to the squabbling?
You are NOT alone! It is normal behavior for small children to bicker over toys, clothes, space and attention. As an infant everything was provided for them, and all the toys were there for them alone, as was your attention.
Small children are emerging from this world; they need to be taught that everything is not theirs, and that it is not `OK' to take from others. This is especially true if they share a room with bunk beds. Here are 3 Tips to establish `boundaries' for the children.
Let them Create Their Own Space
Take your children to the store, have each of them pick out removable stickers (they cannot be the same), and 2 or 3 pictures or posters each. Let each child `decorate' his/her bunk bed area. Now they have established a boundary for their `space'.
Have a Storage Area for Each Child
If the bunk beds have built in drawers, let each child identify 2 drawers as his/her own. Let them identify their drawers by placing their removable stickers on the drawers.
In the event that the bunk beds either do not have drawers, or they are being used for clothes, buy each child a toy box. Again make them identifiable, by using stickers, or letting each child pick out his/her own color of toy box. They have established another boundary.
Establish Rules and Consequences
The two most important factors to raising children are consistency and communication. Sit down with both children in a neutral area – the kitchen or living room. Explain to them why they have identified their own spaces.
Establish rules that must be followed; i.e. Johnny must stay out of Billy's toy chest, off his bunk etc. What will happen if the rules are broken? Establish consequences; loss of favorite toy for 1 day, no TV for 1 night. Let the children participate in this discussion.
NOTE: Remember, these are small children just beginning to learn, they are not able to remember 10 rules at once. Start with no more than 2 rules. Make the consequences simple and short; if you take TV away for week, a small child will not even remember why he/she can't watch TV.
These tips will not eliminate sibling rivalry, but they will help. These simple rules are a foundation for your children's long journey to adulthood. They are learning to respect other people, and other people's property.
Rob has a masters degree in Child Psychology and is a writer for KASA Capital. He has 2 kids of his own.
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