Sibling rivalry

Where does rivalry come from among siblings?

For a toddler who used to think it was the center of the universe, it can be especially hard to greet a new baby in their home. And that's not the fault of the parents! Because especially in the first two years of life, it is completely normal that everything revolves around the baby or toddler. As siblings grow older, they usually exude their envy and rivalry by arguing, swearing at one another, teasing, shoving or even fighting each other. The main thing, the brother or sister gets his fat away for the fact that the toys are broken and the attention of the parents is no longer my own!

But right now your two-year-old toddler has no idea why it feels that way and what it can do about this most annoying newborn. Your child desperately wants your attention back and may therefore be offending or ""unlearning"" some things again: Maybe your toddler is jumping around on the sofa like crazy as you try to breastfeed your baby. Or your little one suddenly refuses to potty, although it has been possible for months! It may even be that your child tries to punish the new sibling with some quite obvious tricks or thrusts.

That does not mean it's evil, but it's just not yet cognitive enough to realize it hurts the baby seriously. Toddlers have little impulse control yet. This means that if they are angry, they will not be able to breathe deeply and become cool - a skill that has to be laboriously acquired. In addition, they have little opportunity to process negative feelings in language. And that's why frustration in toddlers can quickly lead to aggression.

If you're a referee and mediator in sibling battles, you need serenity and strength. But also think about how your toddler may feel - it loses its regular place as the sole center of your full attention and (from its perspective) love. If you want to keep the headache potential of the entire family to a minimum, then prepare your toddler for the new baby before the birth.

What to do before the new baby is born and comes home?

Tell your two-year-old child honestly and openly about the baby that's about to be born soon.

  • Four or five weeks before birth, your toddler can actually see what you're talking about: this is a great time to prepare your baby! Her stomach is big enough to make it look real. Your child can now feel the new sibling moving in your stomach. If you tell your child too early about the birth, it has - until it is time - either forgot everything again, or it asks you until then every day at least once, if the baby comes today! If you ask, you should of course answer honestly. There are plenty of nice books on pregnancy and childbirth for kids, for example ""We're Four Now"" by Ravensburger or ""Hello Baby, when are you coming? ""By Lydia Hauenschild ... Such books help your child to get used to the idea of ​​a new sibling.

    Tell your child what happens when the new baby arrives home.

  • Just do it: ""If the baby is here, then daddy - and not me - will take you to the nursery for a while."" Let your little one feel regularly that you love it very much and that it will never change. Tell your child too. Let your toddler help prepare for the new baby.
  • Your child can, for example, make simple decisions about the design of the nursery: ""Where should the baby's chair be? Do we prefer to take rabbits or ducks on the curtains?"" Let your child choose between two alternatives: ""Do you think the new baby would rather have a green or rather a blue lampshade?"" You should of course agree with both variants before! If you are planning change (for example, if your child moves to another room or crib bed), do so a few weeks before the birth. Otherwise your child will relate the two events and may feel displaced by the new baby. Give the toilet training a quiet start and give your toddler time with table manners - toddlers often ""unlearn"" these things for a while when the new sibling arrives.

    Tell your child what happens at birth.

  • Explain that you will be going to the hospital a few weeks before the expected date of delivery - and tell your child as clearly and easily as you can. Even if you are not home for a day or two, your little one may be disturbed by your absence. If a relative, friend or childminder takes care of your child during this time, you should arrange a ""dress rehearsal"" a week or two before the big event. So your child can get used to the idea once. Your toddler should be allowed to visit the hospital so that she is an important part of the larger family from the start. Take pictures of your child and the baby.Let your toddler feel that it plays an important role as a new big brother or new big sister. In some families, there is also a gift from the new baby for the larger sibling.

    What happens when the baby comes home

Let your toddler help care for the baby.

  • Your child can do a lot - and may surprise you with great enthusiasm. It can hold the towels or wash the baby's legs while bathing. It can get a diaper and pick out new clothes. When the baby cries, your child can comfort it or look for the pacifier. And if your two-year-old wants to keep the new sibling, put your toddler in an armchair, cushion everything to the right and left with pillows, and put the baby in your baby's lap. Stay close! Ask your toddler for advice.
  • ""What do you mean the baby would rather wear the white or the red cap?"", Or ""Will you help me tell the baby a bedtime story?"" Your baby will probably be enchanted when the big brother or big sister is with him and sings, dances or just makes faces. Your toddler can put a smile on the face of his sibling. In these moments, make your child aware of how much the baby likes it: ""Look how it smiles at you!"" If your toddler does not feel like helping, then do not force it. Sometimes children prefer to ignore the tiny new baby. Your toddler will become curious by itself. If you want to force it before that happens, you'll probably just get more rejection.

    Spend a lot of time with your toddler.

  • It's normal for your toddler to feel jealous. After all, it now has to share your time and attention with a being that demands a significant portion of it. Do not grumble, but acknowledge these feelings: ""You wish I did not spend so much time with the baby,"" you could say, or, ""Such a baby can be exhausting sometimes, right? "". Your toddler then knows that you understand his emotional world. Take some time each day for you both alone - even if you just spend a few minutes painting together or playing with blocks - and even if during this time you have to confide your crying baby to someone else or the household suffers. If your baby goes to bed earlier than her two-year-old, use the time to read to him and play games together. Show photos to your toddler who was a baby on their own and tell him that it needed a lot of help back then. Maybe your child will understand better why you spend so much time with the new sibling now. Show your toddler the benefits of being bigger and smarter: ""You can do a lot on your own!And you're allowed to play with things that are forbidden to little babies. ""

    Prepare for aggression.

  • Every child is at some point jealous of his brother or sister, and toddlers can not yet express their emotions So, do not be surprised if your two-year-old beats or throws the new baby, and your child may even be trying to make it look like an accident - do not worry, that's not nice, but it's normal. Make sure that your toddler does not hurt the baby, and when you're alone with your child, encourage him to talk about his feelings, and tell your child that it's normal to feel that way and that But it also makes it clear that it is not OK to hurt the baby, you can show him alternatives, such as a pillow that can be hit or a piece of paper or old newspaper which it is allowed to crumple.

    Take action immediately if your child behaves aggressively. But do not humiliate or punish your child physically - that does not help and provokes only later revenge on the baby. Instead, tell your child that you do not accept his behavior and that you must never hurt a baby. Other penalties should be avoided if possible, because your child then gets even more the impression that you no longer love it.

    Do not leave your toddler alone with the baby - but do not say you distrust him. Even if your child lovingly treats the baby in principle, you should be careful: Never leave sharp objects within reach and do not let your child push the stroller by itself - otherwise you risk seeing yourself rolling down the stroller alone downhill !

    Resist the temptation to compare your children. It hurts, the classic question, ""Why are not you like your sister?"" Underline the unique strengths of your children: ""Leonard, you can play ball so great and your little sister can crawl great, do not you think so too?"" Praise both of them together: ""You played great together today and I was so happy!""

  • Petzen do not stand a chance. If your toddler comes running to tell you that your little sister is just clearing the books off the coffee table, then answer him, ""I do not want to hear from you what your sister is doing, but you can tell me what That's what I'm interested in. ""
  • Make it clear that you will not accept it when your kids tell each other and annoy each other. But make sure that your children understand the one important exception to this rule: If someone is in danger of being injured or injured, then you need to know about it!And if a child destroys someone else's property, of course, as a parent, you have to intervene. Teach your toddler to resolve conflicts on her own.

    As children get older, they should be able to resolve disputes as much as possible themselves. Realistically, you can not expect that from a two-year-old, but you can already encourage your child to find their own solutions. For example, if your toddler feels disturbed while playing the new baby, then suggest that your older child play in a different room.

  • The trick is to make it clear to your child that it can do things the baby does not know yet. Your ""big darling"" may still want the attention the baby receives from you, but your toddler will soon appreciate the benefits his retirement advantage brings. If jealousy is a big topic, there are also helpful children's books, for example, ""Who do you love most? ""By Sam McBratney.

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