When you start a family, you envision your kids opening gifts together at Christmas, working on puzzles together on cold days, playing in the pool in the summer, and enjoying the experience of growing up with a sibling. In reality, as all parents of more than one child know, it's fights in the backseat of the car, cries of "it's not fair!" and you wonder what you can do.
While siblings are pretty much always going to claim that their life is super unfair and their brother or sister is getting more than them (more junk food, more toys, more anything and everything), there are some tips for peace and harmony. Read on to find out 10 ways to make things fairer between siblings.
10 Ask Your Kids Not To Say "It's Unfair"
How many times have you heard your kids say that something is unfair? Chances are, it's way too many to count.
It can feel like this is all that siblings say to one another since they never think that they're being treated the way that they should. Of course you know that's not true and that they have your love and support... but this just seems to be the way that siblings act. Change things up and ask your kids not to say "it's unfair." This might take a bit of time to get used to but eventually, they'll stop saying this phrase, and that will be a positive thing.
9 Take Them On Separate Outings
Sometimes kids want some one-on-one time with each parent. Sure, they love being part of the family and there's nothing like a big gathering or a Friday night movie night, but everyone wants this special time.
You can take your kids on separate outings and your partner can do the same. This will not only help you connect more (and you'll have fun) but your kids will feel that they're each getting enough attention.
8 Get Them One Special Christmas Present To Share
Each of your kids is inevitably going to put their own Christmas list together, and depending on their age gap, there might not be a ton of overlap in terms of the treats and goodies that they're asking for.
You can make things fairer between siblings by getting them one special Christmas present that they can share. This can be a larger item and something that appeals to both of them. They'll be excited and it'll be something that they can do or play with together.
7 Encourage Teamwork
Whether your kids are washing their hands before dinner or setting the table, it's a good idea to have them do these things together. When you want to make things more fair between siblings, you can encourage teamwork.
They will feel that they're in this together and that they're both focused on completing the same task. Teamwork will also emphasize that they're both doing the same thing and not getting special treatment.
6 Help Them Find Their Own Interests And Hobbies
It's definitely true that your children might have some interests and hobbies in common. Maybe they both love going to the movies (and getting popcorn and other treats) and playing sports or reading.
But it's probably also true that they have their own hobbies, and it's a good idea to encourage those. This will help them see that they're being treated fairly since they're both being given the opportunity to do the things that they love. You can find local classes, groups, or a sports team that they can join.
5 Explain About The Age Gap
Let's say your youngest child is always saying that things aren't fair because their older sibling gets to go to the movies with a friend and without you. Or they want to join the same sports team. Or something else is bugging them.
You can explain to them that their older brother or sister is doing these things because, well, they're older. You want to talk to them about the age gap between them and their sibling. Sometimes, they're going to do different things, and that's okay. Explain that it's normal and that once they're the same age as their older sibling, they can do those things, too.
4 Focus On Their Individual Strengths
Sometimes your kids just want to know that you think that they're special and that they each have their own strengths and great personality traits. That could be the reason why they each sometimes say that things are unfair.
Take some time out of every day to spend with each of your children, and remind them them of their individual strengths. This will help their self-esteem which will make them stop complaining that nothing is ever fair.
3 Tell Them That Siblings Don't Always Get Along
In a perfect universe, you want your kids to always get along and have the best time together. That's not always the way that it goes, of course, even when you try super hard.
If you tell your kids that siblings don't always get along, that can help validate their emotions. They'll feel comforted that they get into small arguments with their brother or sister from time to time, and you'll make them feel better.
2 Explain That Sometimes Life Isn't Fair (Nicely, Of Course)
Even if you try your best to get your kids to stop complaining that things aren't fair, chances are that sometimes, they're still going to ask why their brother or sister gets a sleepover with their best friend tonight and they can't hang out with them.
When this happens, the best thing that you can do is explain that unfortunately, sometimes life isn't fair. Of course, you'll say this in a nice way, but it's important for your kiddos to know that everyone gets upset about what they can't have sometimes. It's not always going to be possible to give each kid the exact same stuff. For example, they can't all have sleepovers on the same night just because it would be totally fair.
1 Talk About Family Bonds
Even though your children might exclaim that life is totally unfair and even though they might get upset sometimes, they do love their sibling.
It's smart to talk to your kids about how they'll always be family and how it's great to spend time together but it's also cool to see other friends and do your own thing. They'll see that their family bonds are super strong and feel much better about the times when they're each doing something different from one another.