I’m joining “Show us Your Life” at Kelly’s Korner again this week where she is asking people to share their parenting advice. Every parent deals with sibling rivalry and some studies say it is the one thing that most drives parents crazy! I have a great idea for you! If your children are too young for this, print this and put it in a place to refer back to in a couple of years. It is seriously that good!
Our two oldest children are boys. They are now 25 and 23. They are 23 months apart. They had a love/hate relationship growing up! They would argue about everything and anything. At lunch they would argue about who got the pointy end of a banana I would cut into two pieces. Totally serious! We had two melamine plates that were alike. Exactly. Oh except for that little brown spot on the edge over which they would argue about who got the “spotty” plate. They would argue about who got to hold “Daddy’s watch hand.” Yes, the hand he wore his watch on. They (now add their younger by 2-1/2 years sister) also would argue about who sat where during our read aloud time or while watching TV. Apparently there was just something super special about our love seat! I remember seating being a big issue! Before air bags in the front seat came along, they would argue about who got to sit in the front. They would also argue about who got to drink the “sips” from an empty soda can after I poured the soda in a cup. Anyone with children knows how they compete and fuss with each other over e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g and we got very tired of managing disputes like this. It can be so draining!
When they were about 5, 7 and 9 years old, I read an idea somewhere that I adapted into what we called, for many years, “Child of the Week.” This is brilliant and I would have used it when they were even younger if only I had the idea!
In rotating order, one of the children is Child of the Week. We took their individual pictures and hung the one who was child of the week on the fridge. We probably did this so my husband and I would remember who it was that week! When we had disputes as stated above, the Child of the Week would get to choose or have the privilege. We also felt it was important that responsibilities were attached and not just privileges. It is important that children are not encouraged to be self-centered. If this was just about “getting their way” even if just for the week, it allows them to see themselves as the center of the universe. This kind of thinking is something we as parents try to train out of our children so we think it is very important for responsibilities to attached. So for instance the Child of the Week was also the designee to empty the wastebaskets throughout the house each week, dust the breakfast room chairs and often be the go-to person for any job I wanted help with. Any jobs could be assigned. You could also let them pick where to eat out or what pizza toppings to put on a pizza. Use your own creativity and needs to fit your family. Another benefit to this plan was that the younger children weren’t always muscled or manipulated by the elder to get his way. It leveled the playing field so to speak for them. It is quite typical for the firstborn to be bossy and controlling with their younger siblings and it is good for some of that to be prevented.
My eldest son would look months in advance to see who would be Child of the Week at Christmas! That is just how he rolled! Our second son asked once if I knew who held the record for having the most children. My husband recalled reading in Guinness World records that a woman had 69 children in her lifetime. My son thought for a moment and said, “Wow, just think how long it would take to be child of the week!” Sadly, our youngest never got to be part of this as there is too big an age gap. Now she says she is child of the year!
This is a great technique to add to your parenting and a simple way to eliminate some of the sibling rivalry that is guaranteed to happen in every family!