How to Deal With Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry is extremely common, particularly in twins who often compete against each other. But rivalry isn’t always bad, and can actually aid the development of your children, instilling a sense of healthy competition into them. In fact, most of the time your children are simply vying for your attention.

However, when the fighting gets a bit too much, it’s always handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve to calm the situation down. In this blog, Elin Swain, managing director of Nannies Matter, gives her advice on how to reduce your children’s arguments and create a harmonious household.


1. Don’t be the judge

By refereeing your children’s arguments, you are unwittingly reinforcing their bad behaviour. Instead of identifying the right or wrong person in the argument, simply make it clear that arguments are not tolerated. Encourage your children to settle their argument in a calm manner by sitting down and talking to one another.


2. Set up a bickering table

While you can look to minimise the number of arguments your children have, it is unrealistic to aim for no arguments at all. To teach them there is a time and a place for disagreements, set up a ‘bickering table’ as the designated area for all arguments. This will reduce the number of arguments because your children won’t enjoy having to sit at a table to bicker.


3. Don’t dismiss your children’s feelings

Although the argument may seem petty, your children’s feelings of anger and sadness are legitimate and should be addressed. This is an opportunity to teach your children how to deal with their anger. Let them know that their thoughts and feelings have been heard and encourage them to fix the problem. This may include apologising to their brother or sister or simply having some time to themselves in order to calm down.


4. Reduce the possibility of an argument

When it comes to siblings, particularly twins, your children want to be treated equally. To reduce the possibility of an argument, introduce a ‘take your turn’ system. For example, if one child picks what’s for dinner one night, let their sibling pick the next night. This will reduce jealousy, favouritism and any arguments that occur off the back of this.


Remember, sibling rivalry is extremely normal, however, by treating your children fairly and equally and introducing some simple rules, you can successfully reduce the number of arguments between your children.


Nannies Matter is a family run nanny agency based in the Home Counties.

Elin Swain

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