When I had my second child, I wanted to make sure that they would become best friends. I wanted to avoid sibling rivalry as much as possible.
The first thing I did was whenever I talked about the baby it was “our baby” or “her baby sister”. We casually talked about how she was going to be a big sister and she would get to teach the baby lots of new stuff. After my second daughter was born, Princess G, we had her big sister come right away. Princess A was 28 months at the time. She remembers coming to the hospital and meeting her little sister.
When I got home I followed some great advice: don’t always go to the baby first. If I was doing something for my oldest I would say out loud “Princess G, I will be there in a minute I am helping your sister.” Of course the baby did not understand me but my oldest did. I think it really helped that I did not always rush to the baby. My oldest felt as though she was just as important. I also used one of the baby’s naps to take the time and play with Princess A. Her favorite memories of that time were when we would play in the snow and then have hot cocoa to warm up. We were never outside more than 15 minutes (dressing took longer, lol) but to her it was an eternity with just mommy. She also got to go on a few dates with Daddy too!
I made sure that things were pretty even or at least appeared even to them. As they got older I emphasized that we share in our house. They have their special stuffed animal and a doll or two that they don’t have to share but everything else they share. I point out to them that if they share toys then they have a bigger variety. For example, instead of buying them both the same doll, I buy one in blue and the other in pink. They now have different dolls. I knew I was getting through to them when at my oldest birthday she received a present with two Barbie ballerinas in the package and she turned to ask me which one was hers. I told her since it was her birthday she could pick.
They do argue with each other on occasion but it does not last long. First, they know I won’t be happy and they also won’t like my solution. If they do argue, which is about once a week, it is over a toy or that my oldest wants to read instead of playing. In our house sharing and kindness is how we are as a family. My girls see my husband and me being kind and sharing. My husband and I rarely argue, about twice a year, and we always talk softly and very respectfully.
The best way to avoid sibling rivalry is to treat your kids fair and with love. Things are not always perfectly even but when things are not I ask them what I can do to even things up, and usually they come up with a great idea and everyone is happy!
*Post by Noreen, a BabyLegs Mom.