Raising Children Close in Age

Avoiding Sibling Rivalry

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Hispanic parents with daughter

For any parent that has two kids close in age in elementary school, , they know that it can be both wonderful and daunting. One minute they can be the best of friends, playing and keeping each other occupied for hours. The next minute they can be trying to rip each other's hair out because they both want the same thing. However, maneuvering your way through the parenting challenge of having kids close in age can successfully be done!

Sibling Rivalry - Breaking it Up

When you have two kids close in age, they often get into squabbles. This is because they often both have the same interests, like the same toys, and are vying for the same attention. What you do, and don't do, can make a huge difference in how long these issues play out.

Consider these parenting tips for raising children close in age:

  • Understand that sibling rivalry may become an issue. But you can address this by making sure you spend quality time alone with each child, making them both feel special.
  • Try not to compare the two of them all the time although they are close in age. If you do, it will contribute to the rivalry. Instead, identify strengths in both of them and give appropriate praise to each.
  • Try to keep things organized. When they are in this age range, they will have homework, after school activities, and other things they are engaged in. You will want to keep up on who is doing what, so find a good family planning calendar to make use of.
  • Create a routine, especially for things like chores and bedtime. This will help you feel less frustrated and help them get everything done. You may even want to set up a behavior chart with the routine tasks on it.
  • Avoid the urge to jump into each battle when kids close in age argue. Let them learn to work some of them out on their own.
  • Set up behavior charts for the kids to improve certain behaviors. A fun way to do this is to have assign points to behaviors you want them to work on and have rewards the kids can "buy" when they accumulate the determined number of points.

One of the great things about raising children that are close in age is that there is a good chance they can go on to become lifelong friends. At times, it may seem like all they do is argue, but then they will surprise you and spend hours playing together like friends. While you may at times have some challenges, you are helping to lay the foundation for what could be a lifelong friendship.

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