That green-eyed monster known as jealousy often lurks around our kids. We see it with siblings, cousins, and friends. With children, jealousy often pops up to stir the pot when they perceive they’re not getting enough attention.
Even if you have just one child, you may find your child gets jealous if you’re on the phone with a friend. Your child may act out in ways that are not the norm for them, such as drawing on the walls with markers or, far worse, holding it in and letting it manifest in negativity.
If jealousy is bubbling over with your child, these five tips will help you handle it while teaching your child an important lesson in grace.
1. Be an open door to talk to your child
Some children will come to you when they feel jealous. If they seek you out first, put down everything and listen. Acknowledging and accepting your child’s emotions is a huge help in quelling that jealousy. We’re all allowed to have our own emotions, and that’s OK. But if your child seems like something is bothering them and hasn’t come to you, bridge that gap and let them know they have a safe space with you to talk about it.
2. Make one-on-one time for each child
Jealously always rears its ugly head when one child is getting more attention than the other. One of the most common occurrences is when a sibling has a birthday. Naturally, the birthday child will get more attention. You can remind your other child that on their birthday, it will be all about them too.
And when this jealousy comes around on a regular day, nip it in the bud. Schedule weekly time with each of your kids individually. It doesn’t need to be a long duration or anything expensive. Simply spending time where you give your undivided attention should make jealousy disappear.
3. Get them involved
When your other child is sulking because it’s her sister’s birthday, nothing makes a child feel better, like being a helping hand. Have her assist you with something important, like placing the candles on the cake or hanging the decorations. Children love to feel needed because it makes them realize they are important and worthy of attention.
4. Don’t make comparisons
We can look at the Brady Bunch movies they made in the 90s as an amusing way to illustrate comparisons. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Jokes aside, comparing your children to each other is just asking for jealousy to explode all over your good sofa. Instead, let each child know what you love about them without comparing them to one another. Comparisons lead to resentment and feuds.
5. Reassure your child that they are loved
One thing you need to remember is that jealousy comes from a feeling of not being loved enough or receiving enough attention. If you get to the root cause of that jealousy, it’s less likely your child will act out or harbor unhappy feelings. All children need to know we love them with our whole hearts and that our supply of love for each of them is infinite.
Make sure you tell all of your children daily how much you love them, let them feel needed, and make time for them individually, and you should see less of that jealous monster coming around!