Each sibling develops at his or her own pace. Older children might have a sense of how to cooperate and share, while younger children aren’t as good at taking turns. It can be tough for an older child to accept that a younger sibling “just doesn’t know how yet.”

If siblings are having trouble sharing and getting along with each other, try these strategies:

  • Encourage each child to actively work through a conflict. If one child says, “Jamie won’t let me use the markers,” you might say, “Have you tried asking her for the markers in a kind voice?” If one child tells her sibling to stop doing hurtful things and the other sibling doesn’t listen, you can step in and ensure that the mean behavior stops.
  • After a conflict is resolved, talk together about how the situation might be handled in the future. You might ask, “What could you do the next time this happens?”
  • Encourage kids to try to manage their feelings before they react. They can go to a quiet place and take deep breaths, wrap their arms around themselves in a hug to calm their bodies, or listen to some calming music.