Here are some simple things nannies and au pairs can do every day to prevent sibling fighting.
1. Set ground rules for acceptable behavior. No cursing, no name-calling, no yelling, no hitting, and no door slamming allowed.
2. Solicit their input on the rules and consequences. This teaches kids that they are responsible for their own actions.
3. Do not let children make you think that everything always has to be "fair" and "equal" — sometimes one kid needs more than the other.
4. Give kids one-on-one attention directed to their interests and needs.
5. Make sure children have their own space and time to do their own thing — to play with toys by themselves, to play with friends without a sibling tagging along, or to enjoy activities without having to share 50-50.
6. Have fun together. Fun activities can help reduce conflict.
7. If children frequently squabble over the same things, (such as video games or dibs on the TV remote), post a schedule showing which child "owns" that item at what times during the week.
8. Recognize when children just need time apart from each other. Try arranging separate play dates or activities for each kid occasionally. And when one child is on a play date, you can spend
one-on-one time with another.
9. Keep in mind that sometimes kids fight to get adult attention. When possible let siblings work out their own issues. If you give bickering too much attention, squabbling may be a way to
get your attention.
Photo by Jennifer Echols