A concerned mother of two adorable boys, aged 6 and 3, recently reached out to me about a growing issue in her household. Initially attributing the strife to her older son, she soon discovered it was the younger one incessantly testing his brother’s patience. The constant button-pushing and refusal to give his older sibling space have left her pondering how to address these challenges with two kids under 7.
– Trying to Create Space
Dear Trying to Create Space,
Your letter brought a smile to my face, highlighting a common oversight in attributing sibling mischief solely to the older child. Understanding the developmental stage of your toddler is crucial — with an incomplete frontal cortex, he struggles to grasp which actions may be upsetting, hence the joy in jumping all over his brother or tugging at his hair.
Nevertheless, instilling the importance of respecting boundaries early is key. Here are some tailored tips you might find helpful:
How To Stop Your Toddler From Hitting Older Siblings:
Create a “space bubble” by sitting your boys down and explaining the normalcy of needing alone time. Encourage them to identify moments they prefer solitude, making a game out of announcing “I’m going to the space bubble” when needed.
When Siblings Won’t Stop Fighting:
Teach your boys to respect each other’s belongings, fostering sharing by asking permission before playing with toys or other items. It’s also essential to recognize that not sharing certain items is acceptable and part of being respectful.
How to Handle Aggressive Toddler:
Address the root cause of attention-seeking behaviors. Guide your 3-year-old to connect positively with his brother, emphasizing alternative ways to gain attention such as gentle touches, calling their name, or inviting them to play.
How to Discipline a Toddler:
Model effective communication within the family. Prompt your toddler to express his feelings and desires, fostering empathy and understanding. Encourage the use of phrases like “would you be willing” to convey requests rather than demands.
Raising children at different developmental stages is undoubtedly challenging, but instilling values of respect, personal space, boundaries, and effective communication is a valuable investment in their future.
Love and Blessings,
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