This was a great discussion inside of the Facebook group. Read through and comment your questions and suggestions in the comments!
Question from member A: My girls ( 4 and 7) are constantly arguing about who gets to go first. What can I do in that moment right before both of them start to scream and cry?
Comment from member B: my twin girls are having this same problem too. I have started to tell them that it doesn’t matter who goes first or second. All that matters is the job gets done. Then I ask them what is the job? Washing hands. What is the job? Going potty right when you wake up. What is the job? Get your shoes on. After much repetition it appears to be helping but then there are always the setbacks.
Reply from Rachel: I love member B’s response… That’s a great strategy.
I will give you another in-the-moment strategy, but do keep in mind that in the moment strategies are only band-aids, not long-term solutions (ie the behavior will keep popping up!). If possible, you can give each their own job… For example, if they both want to get their drinks poured first, you can say, “Can you be the cup holder for this glass” and “Can you be my counter? Count to 3 so I know how long to pour for…”
Ultimately competition is about fighting for significance. All humans need to know they matter, and siblings threaten their significance every second that they’re around. So proactively, deposit into their Significance accounts. Spend separate time with them. Have unique rituals with each. Ask them each about things that matter to them…
My last suggestion is to make sure you’re never comparing them, and when they compare to each other, be sure to let them know that they are such different kids (and that you don’t compare them to each other, so they don’t need to). I have two girls who are about the same age difference as yours (mine are 6 and 9) and I say to them all the time, “Emily is Emily and Nicole is Nicole.”
Comment from member C: I know I should be able to come up with these on my own but let’s face it…it’s been a really long day! Any quick suggestions for rituals to start with your kids to help with significance?
Reply from Rachel: Yup, the ones I mentioned above are probably the easiest: Spend separate time with them. Have unique rituals with each. Ask them each about things that matter to them…
A couple of others: Remember what they say (notice when they’re talking about something that excites them and ask them about it a day later)… or ask them to teach you about something they care about.
The list of Deposits is here too: CLICK HERE
Significance starts on page 33!
(And BTW, I don’t expect anyone to have to come up with these on their own — ESPECIALLY after a long day, but any day! That’s what I’m here for!)
Comment from member C: what are some ideas for unique rituals for each child?
Comment from member B: when we can we do special time with our girls. Even if it’s as small as 5 min each we go to separate floors of the house and each twin gets 5 min and we do anything they want to do (except for being on a phone or tablet or watching tv). It’s totally worth the extra 10 min if you can fit it in. We let them start the timer on our phones. They like that.
Comment from member D: You can do even and odd days. Our issues are more picking stories and stuff like that, but it has really helped.
Reply from Rachel: Even more ideas for unique rituals: Have a secret handshake with them that no one else knows, tell them about their birth, have an ongoing story or picture that you work on together… It’s just a unique activity that you have with them only. Incorporating their interests can obviously work super well with this!
Comment from member E: we do even/odd days and have been for years. It truly made a difference.