Sibling rivalry can come in many forms, and sharing can be hard even for grown ups. Our expert answer one mother’s question on how to manage it.
Q. What should I do when my two-and-a-half-year-old won’t share her toys with our eight-month-old?
Sibling rivalry usually first happens when the younger child starts to crawl and puts their eye on the older child’s toys!
As difficult as this situation may be to handle, having siblings teaches children important lessons about sharing and conflict resolution.
It might be a good idea for your two-year-old to have some toys that she doesn’t need to share, particularly if there are some with small pieces or parts. These could be played with up high at the kitchen table or indeed, when the baby is sleeping.
Always explain to your little girl that you understand how difficult it can be to share as this can be hard to accept when the baby has knocked over blocks she’s been very busy building with.
At the same time, empathise with the baby who only wants to play and be closer to the much-loved older sister.
Explain to your child that the baby just wants to be involved and doesn’t yet understand how ‘bigger girls’ play.
Finally, and particularly when they’ve had time playing apart, find something they can do together, which will provide lots of fun and will take them one step closer to a friendship that will last forever.