1. Giving children Me Time
Think about the balance in your family’s day-to-day life, and whether every child’s voice is being heard equally. It’s important that children do sometimes get what they’re asking for, or are made to feel like the centre of attention, or are given the chance to choose for themselves. It’s easy for parents to fall into a pattern of behaviour in families with multiple siblings, where an older sister always gets to choose a movie, or hand-me-down clothes are referred to as ‘your brother’s old stuff’. Choosing language carefully and giving each child their ‘moment’ can help.
2. Set an example
Think about your own behaviour; do you display jealousy in the way you talk about your friends or your neighbours? Children pick up on everything adults say, no matter how small or inconsequential it may seem to you. Pay attention to how your talk about people and belongings, and avoid making comparisons, particularly between children.
Talk to your child about what it means when something is “yours”. Can you lend it to a friend? Can you play with all your toys at the same time? If you let someone borrow a toy will they break it? Will you get it back? How can sharing your things with others make you feel happy? Help your child share their toys with other children when they’re playing, and encourage them to play together.
4. Think about the underlying cause
What might be the root cause of jealous feelings or behaviour? Has your child been getting enough attention? Have you given them enough of your time? Play together, sharing toys and experiences to create positive memories. Listen to your child and reassure them how important they are and how much you love them just the way they are.
5. You don’t always have to win!
Does your child often get competitive? Do they always need to win? Try doing something silly together where the focus is on the experience itself rather than the outcome or end-goal. Remind your child that not everyone has to be good at everything, or have everything. Everyone has their own strengths and it can be fun finding out what they are – and the toys you already have can be fun too, especially when a parent joins in with playtime!
Tips Maija Hytti