Sibling Rivalry




As long as families have existed “Sibling rivalry” has existed too. The moment we say Sibling, rivalry seem to follow it automatically. Despite the fact that there are many solid sibling relationships in families, it’s typically rivalry that gets the most attention.

What causes Sibling Rivalry?

Siblings may be of different genders, of different ages and temperaments, and worst of all, they have to share the one or two people they want most for themselves: their parents.

  • Position in the family. The older child may be burdened with the responsibility of looking after the younger ones, or the younger one may be burdened with living up to the image of the elder one, or catch up with him all the time.
  • Daughter may resent what she perceives as the preferential treatment being given to her brother by her mother or the son may resent his father treating his sister more favourably.
  • A five and an eight-year-old can play some games together but when they become thirteen and sixteen, they will likely have very different interests. Parents may have been told all along that they should treat their children equally, but it is not always possible. Different rules will have to be set for different age and requirements but this can cause resentment among the children. If parents allow a nineteen year old to stay late in the evening with friends his sixteen year old sister will resent it if she is not given the same privileges.

Here are some do’s and don’ts that may be helpful in reducing conflicts as well as the negative effects of sibling rivalry:

  • Don’t make comparisons(e.g., “I don’t understand it. When Hamsini was his age she would pack her bag herself). Each child feels he is unique and rightly so; he is his own person and resents being evaluated only in relation to someone else. Instead of comparison, each child in the family should be given his own goals and levels of expectation that relate only to him.
  • Don’t dismiss or suppress your children’s resentment or angry feelings. Anger is not something we should try to avoid at all costs. It’s an entirely normal part of being human, and it’s certainly normal for siblings to get angry with each other and have the impulse to physically fight. Parents need to assure them that they get angry too, but there are ways to express it and it is not permitted to behave in cruel and dangerous ways. Sit down with them, acknowledge the anger (e.g., “I know you hate Akash right now but you cannot kick him.”), and talk it through.
  • Whenever possible, let brothers and sisters settle their own differences. However, use your judgment to step in and mediate if the contest is between unequals or if the situation looks like it is getting out of control. Sometimes this could result in long-lasting grudges among grown siblings. Bullying could be another fall out if the fights between siblings are not monitored. Bullying is discussed in detail in the next section.

Some Useful Sibling Conflict Resolution Strategies

  • Don’t take sides. You don’t know how long the child who is founding pounding on his brother was putting up with his taunting before taking this drastic measure. However when the sibling rivalry progresses to excessive physical or verbal violence OR when the number of incidents of rivalry becomes excessive, take action. Talk with your children about what is going on. Provide suggestions on how they can handle the situation when it occurs.
  • Reward appropriate behaviour. Parents often don’t notice when children are putting up their best behaviour and notice only fights and arguments. Behaviors that are ignored or unrewarded decrease while behaviors that receive attention or rewarded increase.
  • Introduce a family plan to help with the situation that provides negative and positive consequences for all concerned. When there is a fighting or shouting as a consequence you can introduce temporary withdrawal of screen time. If a day goes without fighting you could give them a reward that you consider appropriate like play a game with them or give them a favourite snack etc.

Sibling Bullying

Sibling bullying is not necessarily an isolated moment of anger. It might reflect an ongoing pattern in a sibling relationship in which one may be emotionally or physically abusive toward another. It may take the form of denigrating, shaming, embarrassing, or threatening behavior.

Consequences of Sibling Bullying

Victims of sibling bullying may minimize, suppress, or deny the emotional pain caused by their abuse–with regard to their anger, hurt, fear and anxiety. They may also internalize their anger, viewing themselves as being at fault.

A child who is the victim of sibling bullying develops a sense of helplessness and isolation, feeling confused, frustrated and powerless. When such suffering is ignored, a child does not feel safe within his own home and may withdraw seeking connection with his parents.

Such a child who is neglected at home may turn into a bully himself outside his home. He may develop a longing for connection with others which may, in turn, lead to associating with peers who similarly feel isolated, angry and powerless–whether seeking affiliation with gangs or resorting to addiction. On the other hand the hurt and anger may completely inhibit their desire to connect with others.

  • Be attentive to how siblings interact with each other. Closely monitor them if you suspect bullying is occurring.
  • Privately address any concerns you have about a child, whether in regard to behavior, school performance, feelings, etc.
  • Reward positive sibling interactions–including their working on a project together and sharing interests.
  • Provide your children with specific guidelines for resolving conflicts. Teach them problem-solving skills like assertive communication, negotiation, collaboration, compromise etc.
  • Teach them to verbalise their feelings.
  • Avoid making comparisons.
  • Make it very clear that any form of bullying will not be tolerated and there will be consequences.
  • Try to be consistent in your interactions with each child.
  • Be fully present with your child, truly attentive to them, without attending to other tasks.
  • Be alert to your interactions with them or with your spouse. Specifically, be alert to any discrepancy between what you say about bullying and behavior that may provide a different message.
  • Avoid playing favourites with your children, based on any of their traits and qualities.

Siblings can create certain stresses, but if they are overcome successfully, they will give your children resources that will serve them well later in life. Siblings learn how to share, how to come face to face with jealousy, and how to accept their individual strengths and weaknesses. As they watch you handle sibling rivalry with equanimity and fairness, they will be gaining knowledge that will be valuable when they, too, become parents.

Image courtesy:,




Dealing with what children watch online

Parents are often caught in a dilemma over how much time their child should spend on computer and mobile. ‘What are they doing for so many hours?’ ‘Are they really studying or browsing the net?’  ‘What are they browsing?’ These and many more questions arise in your mind when you see your child shifting from one screen to another throughout the day. With the Corona pandemic and class room teaching shifting to virtual mode as well as children’s play time being taken away, the worries and apprehensions have multiplied. Neither can you check on your child all the time nor can you leave them to their devices in an uncontrolled manner. So how do you ensure that your child is not watching what is not age appropriate? How do you broach the subject in a manner that is unobtrusive?

The Internet can be wonderful for kids. They can use it to research school reports, communicate with teachers and other kids, and play interactive games. But online access also comes with risks, like inappropriate content, cyber bullying and online predators.

Kids’ online time can be monitored by parents and guidelines can be set. If you set rules at a young age it becomes easy to follow them even as they grow older. So start early.

Basic guidelines for parental supervision:

  • Spend time online together to teach your kids appropriate online behavior.
  • Keep the computer in a common area where you can watch and monitor its use, not in individual bedrooms. Monitor any time spent on smartphones or tablets.
  • Bookmark kids’ favorite sites for easy access.

The Internet and Teens

As kids get older, it gets a little trickier to monitor their time spent online. They may carry a smartphone with them at all times. They probably want — and need — some privacy. This is healthy and normal, as they’re becoming more independent from their parents. The Internet can provide a safe “virtual” environment for exploring some newfound freedom if precautions are taken. However seeing inappropriate content at a young age can leave children feeling confused and unable to process what they have seen or experienced.

If your child does stumble across something inappropriate online, there are a few things that you can do to deal with it:

Establish whether if they stumbled onto the content accidentally or were simply curious and went looking for it. If it an accident, reassure them that is not a bad thing and show understanding.

  • If they went looking for it, have an honest conversation about why they felt the need to, to understand and help them take a more critical view of their actions.
  • Stay calm and discuss what they have seen and how it has made them feel to assess what emotional support they may need.
  • If they can’t talk to you, you could take the help of professional counselors with whom they can talk about what they may be feeling.
  • Review settings and control on the platforms they use to ensure that these are set to the right levels.

My child has seen inappropriate contents. What do I do?

If your child has accidentally come across pornography or actively sought it out by searching for it, it is only natural that questions about what they have seen is going to eat you up. Best way to deal with it is to talk it out.

  • Have an age appropriate conversation and explain that there are some things online that are for adults only and if they see something that upsets them, they should always come and tell you.
  • It may be a good time to help your child think critically about the images they see online and offline.
  • Try and give them coping strategies to help them deal with any online content that they are uncomfortable with like closing the laptop lid or turning off the screen.
  • Reassure them that they can always come to you if they feel they have seen something online that has worried them.
  • Set your expectations. Tell them that you expect them to be forth right and honest. If they are confident that you are empathetic and won’t judge them then they will not want to lie to you.
  • Appreciate them for telling the truth.
  • Be prepared that they may have questions about sex and relationships. Keep age appropriate answers ready.

Block Inappropriate content in anticipation

  • Make sure the devices are used in a shared room, like living room.
  • Limit the chances of exposure to inappropriate content by setting up filters and parental controls on devices – i.e. filters on your home internet, and YouTube, Restricted Mode and Google Safe Search.




Effective Delegation at Home

An interesting story I had heard long time back which still stays with me on delegation …

Once there was a famous wrestler and he was so powerful that he could crush anybody in minutes. After a hectic tournament, when he returned home, he found a little mouse playing on his bed room.
He tried to catch it but the smart mouse escaped from all his effort and was still playing there. He was unable to sleep peacefully so his wife told him to assign a cat to catch that mouse.
Next day he brought one mighty cat. The cat was very famous for doing excellent tricks and won many prizes. He brought the cat from his owner for a day.
After returning home with the cat the wrestler was waiting to watch the little mouse to be killed. The cat walked around and tried real hard to catch it but unfortunately it failed from all its attempt. In fact after few minutes, the mouse scared the cat away.
Now as a famous wrestler, he brought a clever and powerful cat of the King from the palace. This time the wrestler was certain that the king’s cat would be able to kill the little mouse.
After few minutes, the King’s cat also failed in all its attempts to catch the mouse and was tired. So he decided to drop the cat back at the palace. However on his way back, the wrestler asked the cat to help him with an idea to kill the mouse.
The King’s cat quietly answered him. “Dear Wrestler to catch that little mouse, you don’t need a tricky cat or a wise cat like me. I am clever but I am not good at catching a mouse as I live in palace, I never knew hunger and never tried so hard to catch a little meal. Like me, the tricky cat also never starved for food. I suggest you take a street cat to your home”.
So the wrestler quickly brought a street cat. The wrestler was not confident as it looked very simple.
Once they entered the home, the cat rushed from the hands of the wrestler and ran fast into his bed room and was casually walking out of his home with that little mouse on its mouth. Everything was over in few seconds.
So choose the right person and assign the right responsibilities to him.
These days we are burdened with work but our major challenge is to get the work done smoothly. Usually we do not think about these problems because we believe that it’s common and its bound to happen and they remain as a casual conversation topic.
An important question to ask (to ourselves) is when to Delegate?
Bible says ‘We delegate when our responsibilities are greater than our capacities’

Common Misconception
If I delegate a task I will get more time/ relieve me from the burden. Its not true immediately. In-fact you should be prepared to give series of easy instruction and training which may take some of your time than doing the task yourself. However in the long run it will certainly keep you from of burning out.
As a Corporate trainer this is a very common subject for corporate workshop and often participants share their challenges while handling teams which I feel is applicable for our families as well:
Barriers to Delegation
We often think that….
• “It is easier to do it myself. What I can do in ten minutes, takes me fifteen minutes just to explain it.’ it takes more time to show people how to do it than it does to do it yourselves
• .Probably here we are not sure if children/ spouse can do it properly (according to your definition).
• They are not responsible enough to do it. I’ve been burned too many times.
• If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
• I have tried so many times but they never continue the same for a long time.
• it is frustrating to delegate something and then not have it done the “right” way at the right time
• Sometimes delegated tasks takes more problems and time, as you keep answering questions and few are very silly.
Root problem is me, not always the family members: Perfectionism, Lack of trust, difficulty in explaining. Wherein our focus should be on what not how- results not methods*

Difficulties we all face in the in the family
o Lot of members do not like or want to do certain task
o Lack of responsibility
o They need to be told every day to do the task. In-fact need to be pushed very hard.
How to Delegate?
We are burned but hesitant to delegate because of our past experience. We often have 3 different age group in our families and depending on the maturity of the person involved and ability level:
1. Young children
2. Older children
3. Adult children
4. Spouse
Model of delegation
We must remember that Telling is not teaching. We will have to
o direct
o coach
o delegate

We cannot assume that if we tell anybody they will be able to perform an activity. Often we make a mistake of thinking this and get upset if they do not perform as per our expectation. This is especially true for our older children and spouse.
1. For younger children: Direct – give a specific task description or even a checklist ( make together) of what needs to be done along with intermittent deadlines to ensure his success.

2. For older children: Coaching – you allow them to make their plan and procedure. You could only coach them along and advise them until they succeed.

3. Adult member: Delegation – you just ask them to do because you know they can do (ability and responsibility both are high). You can trust that they will do it right and on time. You have seen his proven faithfulness over time.

“Not”: There is no hard and fast rule in terms of who needs coaching and who could be delegated directly.


o Children should always be directed but if your children are habituated in doing house hold activities then you could simply delegate to them. If they have not been doing house hold work regularly or without interest you need to coach them.
o Hence you are a better judge whether the members in your family need to be coached or delegated.

One needs to be ready to follow “M3”. “Avoid Micromanagement and follow Monitoring and Motivating”

The common discussions in these days of lockdown is how one particular family member (specially the lady of the house) is engaged in house hold work. It happens that activities are not shared by other family members.

It sends the signal to the other person that either you do not trust his skills or it does not make anybody feel good
o You do not think they are capable and this creates a feeling of unimportant, not valued
o You are control freak. This creates a rebel behavior
o All this is applicable for old and young. So be careful.

Note: Especially people who are ‘perfectionist’ often like to do micro management. It is certainly not a great quality to follow always. Especially when you are teaching/ coaching somebody to do a new task (or a task which they do not want to do).

Learning to do mentoring @ home and motivating will come handy in future.

o It needs patience
o Should be done in such a way that the other person looks at it as a help and not as you trying to teach or control them.
o So don’t say “oh god, I asked you to do this but you could not even do this much” instead tell him how exactly you want the thing to be done. It keeps the conversation at home more healthy and peaceful.
o So in other words we should *give feed forward* instead of blaming/ accusing
o Feed forward followed by some appreciation will always keep them motivated (too much of appreciation can be avoided).
o Too much of controlling, accusing, blaming will lead to lack of interest and eventually they will stop doing it. This is the last thing we want.

Relationship between task and the person
o Mostly choose a task as per the personality of the person.
o Children of young age certainly like action so helping you in setting tables, taking out clothes from outside etc are engaging
How to progress in Delegation:
Personal example- My parents had gone to a next level of delegation. They had assigned me the task of monthly budgeting of our house. Initially I took help of my father and later on I used to do it independently. It helped me designing L&D budgeting at my workplace.

Examples of extent of delegation:
Young children—make your bed, fold the clothes, pick up your shoes/coat, take out the garbage, set the table.
Older Children: When appropriate, parents should give children responsibility for entire task projects. For example, children could be delegated tasks like:
• planning family home evening activities
• doing the weekly grocery shopping
• planning the meals for a week
• checking the food storage supply
Adult children/ member: responsibility for keeping the family car in good condition, assign the task of getting the family up every morning/ evening for scripture reading and prayer, dividing the housecleaning (deep cleaning), or delegate to various family members the responsibility of keeping a particular part of the home clean
For example, you delegate to your children the task of family marketing. This means the child is responsible for handling a rather large amount of money, for buying all the food, and for generally coordinating the buying with the family meal plans.
Advantages of delegation
In this period of lockdown doing household chores together is in itself a family bonding activity (if families are able to do it happily). It creates a sense of team. It develops new abilities and a sense of contribution to the movement.
o To delegate to others, expands the level of competence and confidence in another.
o Delegation helps explore new capabilities
o Increases sense of responsibility
o Sense of accountability
o Sense of independence
o Family members are less stressed
More importantly, delegation helps to empower our family members to be independent and in future when they have some challenging situations, they are competent to handle it effectively.
We all are facing challenges these days, however the families where the members share their household activities regularly are facing fewer challenges as compared to families where members have recently started doing it.
Tip: Start delegation among children as early as possible…. 3-4 years of age. It will get more difficult for you to do so as the child grows.

Rules of Delegation
o Give everybody some liberty to do the task
o Do not Micro manage
o Keep some basic rules which are non-negotiable
Tips for effective Delegation
1. Decide what needs to be done.
2. Select the best person for the job. Consider your family members’ abilities (and also interest in case of young children) while delegating.
3. Let him/her know you believe he/she can do it. Trust is one of the highest forms of motivation.
4. Clarify and agree upon the desired result and deadline.
5. Focus on ‘what’ not ‘how – ‘results’ not ‘methods’
6. Set a rule in the family that delegation means accountability for the right results.
7. Share your mistakes and the mistakes of others.
8. Establish consequences. (If required)
Delegation creates responsible human beings which then becomes part of their personality. Especially important for children at a young age.
Usually children get bored easily.
Option 1: change the time table weekly so that they have a mix of activities to do and also not the same activity too long.
Option 2: make a game. Write all the activities in bowl. Ask the child to pick 1 activity in the evening daily which he needs to do the next day. This will give him variety and this will make him do the activities that he like as well as dislikes.
We will have to accept that everybody is conditioned in a certain way and loads of people (due to cultural perspective), do not consider / identify with the household activities as a part of their activity list.
In this case it’s a good idea to identify certain activities for them (with their liking if needed) and ask them to perform those activities. However we also need to be careful that we adopt ‘M3 policy’

Handling children in the age group of 2-10

Excerpts from the whatsapp chat session
Question 1: My son is 6 years old and is very hyper, he cannot sit still for 5 minutes. Though he listens to me and helps me with the house hold chores I find it very difficult to handle him when he is home. He sleeps and eats very less as a result he is very thin. This lockdown is adding to my woes.
Answer 1: Hi. 6 year olds are generally very active. As a result they are thin. So, if he is healthy and doesn’t have any health related issues ignore his eating. Mothers can sometimes expect their children should eat a lot. Children eat as per their requirement. So I wouldn’t worry so much. As for his ‘hyper’ activity is concerned, please see if he is not able to hold his attention for long on anything. Does he get bored easily and wants to keep shifting from one activity to another. Does he have difficulty in understanding what others tell him. If your answer is no to these then most probably he is just a healthy and active kid. Keep him physically engaged as much as you can. Hyper active is often used loosely. Can check with pediatrician. Avoid giving food that is high on gluten, additives, preservatives etc.

Question 2: Hi. My question is how to deal with back talking in 7-8 year old kids?
Answer 2: Back talking is a common problem in children. However it needs to be corrected now so that when they enter their crucial adolescent age they are well balanced emotionally and mentally. When your child back answers chances are he is modelling this behaviour from his surroundings. Make sure you or others in the house don’t model this behaviour. Tell him very firmly and without shouting that back answering is not acceptable. Be reasonable. Children can have opinion. Take it into consideration. If they are being reasonable then accept it. If they are rude or habitually back answer then with holding certain privileges is an option. Tell him if he is going to back answer then his tv time or play time or whatever else he enjoys will be withdrawn. Don’t back out once you have decided to do it. You should make up your mind before you dole out punishment and then stick to it. Don’t expect complete obedience also. Once in a while if he back answers look the other way. Later you can point it out to him asking him did he feel good about it.

Question 3: My son is 7 years old and he has a problem of bed wetting. I keep telling him that if he does it again then I will tell his school friends. Sometimes I feel guilty of doing this but I am tired. Kindly guide me. Am I doing it right?
What could be the possible reasons for bed wetting for a 10 year old? How to prevent it?
Answer 3: Bed wetting
It’s alright if the child is bed wetting. Don’t be hard on him. It’s a more common problem among boys even though girls can also bed wet. The child wets his bed when he is in deep sleep (non REM). He is not aware of it. So scolding him or saying that you will tell his friends can lead to a more serious problem as he grows up. Usually children out grow this problem sooner or later. Wait for a couple of more years. If by 12 he doesn’t outgrow this problem then you can consult his pediatrician. There are medicines. In the mean time
1. Given them early dinner and no liquid one hour before bed time
2. Make sure they go to the bathroom before going to bed
3. Keep a spare set of clothes and sheet always near the bed.
If the child wets his bed without making a fuss just change his dress, sheet and make him sleep.
4. Tell him it’s alright. There is nothing to feel bad about it
5. You can also keep an alarm for yourself and take him to the toilet once in the night. Usually the bedwetting would happen within two hours of them going to bed.
6. Just wake up gently, guide him to the bathroom make him relieve himself and bring him back to bed.
7. Be gentle and kind. Don’t make him feel ashamed. He doesn’t even know he is bed wetting. You can use rubber sheet. If you don’t feel apologetic he won’t either. And he will outgrow it.
8. Nightmares are associated with bedwetting sometimes. So give him lot of reassurance

Question 4: Is it true that a child below 5 years can learn 5 languages?
Answer 4: Yes. They are capable of learning many languages. There is no fixed number as 5.

Question 5: Hi! How much should we emphasise on reading/writing for a 5 year old? My son seems less interested in reading/writing especially if it is a home task from school.
Many children from his class are quite apt in reading/writing skills. Also what to do with the peer pressure? I see many parents enrolling their kids in a variety of “enrichment classes” e.g mental math, English, etc. Shall we subject such young children to all these or let them learn themselves at their own pace?
Answer 5: Don’t emphasis on writing at this age. Till age 5 their motor control is not developed well. Making them write is counterproductive. Instead help them use their hand for lot of activities to develop the motor control. Free hand drawing and colouring are good. It helps them to learn to hold pencil without pressure. What you should focus on is making the child sit in one place for 20 minutes. No hard and fast rules. You can see his thresh hold and keep increasing the time. Make him focus on activities like puzzle. Writing will happen after 6. Reading is a good thing though. To create interest in reading you can begin by reading out to him. Read together. Slowly you and he read your own book but together. . Show him books with lot of colours and illustrations. See his interest. Buy books accordingly. If he likes to eat cakes for example you can show him a recipe book. Ask him to just look at the pictures, touch and feel them. Or animals or whatever else that interests him.
More than peer pressure I come across parental pressures. 😊
Don’t force him to do things that he is not enjoying. At this age they don’t need external enrichment. Make them aware of their surroundings. Gardening, looking at birds and identifying them, listening to music, helping in house hold chores and cooking like peeling etc. Enrichment classes are for parents who want to outsource child rearing. So don’t fall into that trap.

Question 6: My 10 year old loves reading… but finds writing a chore. Any suggestions to help them getting to write something by just simple thinking or practicing math or to improve handwriting would be helpful.
Answer 6: 10 years is old enough to get into organized writing. You have to give him time bound targets and make him complete them. This can otherwise become a problem once he goes to middle school as there will be lot writing to do.

Question 7: What about parents who are working full time. How do they keep their children busy?
Answer 7: It’s a good question. If both parents are working then
Spend weekends with them. Prioritize children over other activities during weekends. Involve them in house hold chores. Spending time together is important. It can also be doing house hold work together. During week days when you are back from work sit down with them and give them the attention they deserve. All other work can wait. Simply talking to them, reading together, laying out table all of these activities are time we’ll spent together.

Question 8: My 9 year old will get bore very fast in any activity. Like two years back started his drawing and craft class, after two, three months he was not interested anymore.Last year I started his English grammar classes again he was so excited but after few months he was not interested. Is this a habit or do I need to do something on that?
Answer 8: First see if the classes he is attending are as per your choice or his. A 9 year old doesn’t understand much about what a grammar class is like. So it’s more like your decision and he being a cooperative and positive child may be initially interested but soon find it boring.
Allow him to come to you asking of he can join a class. Then also see if he wants to join because his friends are doing so. Their parents may be putting them in these classes for all you know. See if it is age appropriate. At this age enroll him in classes where he is physically engaged as children have lot of energy and that should be channelised properly. If he shows talent in drawing or music then you can think of enrolling him in one of these.
In my opinion grammar class can wait

Question 9: My child is 10 years old and he gets bored very easily in most of the activities except TV and video games. So it becomes very difficult to make him finish a task/activity or to engage him again in those activities. He does not want to spend more than 15-20 minutes on it. How do I help him to get involved in it? Also suggest some physical activities/games for engaging him during lockdown.
Answer 9: I see the problem is with giving him TV and video game time. Stop it completely for some time. These days you can’t send him out but make him do something physical inside the house. Like spot jumping, skipping, spot jogging. Physical activity is very important and lock down cannot be an excuse for any parent. Make him understand that studies are a priority for you and everything else has to wait. He need not be a topper but he still has to complete his work. You can gradually start giving him some TV and video game time during weekends. Please don’t give him mobile. It needs perseverance from your side but doable. As he grows older it will get more difficult.

Question 10: My one kid is 9 years old and the other one is 3 plus. We are not able to play board game at all. If we start then he takes all the getiya and dice. Then my 9 year old gets irritated. And the 3 year old is not able to understand. What should we do?
Answer 10: Siblings learn to adjust, share and get their demands met. It’s best place to learn life skills. Ask your elder one, how should you deal with his brother? Let him give suggestions. If he is not able to then you can prompt him. Make the younger one kacchi mitthi. He will also learn to sit still gradually. You can turn these board games to your advantage.

Question 11: My friend wants you to give suggestions on handling sibling rivalry, her elder daughter is 6.5 years and the younger one is 3.5 years old. They constantly fight over everything.
Answer 11: Sibling rivalry is very very normal. What is important is to give sufficient attention to the elder one. Elder child enjoyed your sole attention for a longer time before the younger one arrived. So give her more attention than the younger one. Give her the responsibility of taking care of the younger one and make her feel proud of it. Appreciate her more often. When the younger one does something good ask the elder one to appreciate him/her. Make her feel proud of her younger sibling’s achievement. That way she won’t feel jealous.

Some tips to manage anger in your child Firstly, we need to examine our own experiences of anger. If you were taught it wasn’t okay to be angry, you may consciously or unconsciously project this belief onto your children. The best time to deal with anger is before it hits. Encourage them to use words to label different levels and incidents of anger, eg. I was annoyed because so and so took that last biscuit; I was hurt because so and so didn’t want to go to the movies with me, I was furious because my teacher didn’t believe me. Teach them to express how they are feeling using ‘I’ statements, eg. I am feeling annoyed because you are on the computer and I need to finish my homework for tomorrow. Encourage them to see the other person’s point of view. Remove them from the place of trigger. Remove the object that causes anger.
For more refer to my blog on managing anger in adolescents.

Effective Work from Home strategies – Part 1

Part I – Let’s make our children self reliant
Work from home while our children are @ home full time is certainly a difficult situation. It is important to talk to children about what is happening, at an age appropriate level. Though some children may not understand what the current situation is but they should be informed that we are all working for the community.
We must consider two major points:
• One is to design children’s time constructively so that you could work those hours peacefully
• Second is setting boundaries to make children understand that though parents are present at home, they have got to do their office work also. You will have to invest time at work and they will have to work out few things on their own in this period.

Family meeting with children :
Children may not understand what is going on and only see that you are limiting them in ways that don’t seem reasonable. Let your kids know that you have certain tasks that you must complete, and that you can’t take frequent breaks to help them.
 Communicate their role very clearly
 Give them responsibilities which they need to complete in a given time
 Consider their interest level while allocating work
 Keep a good mix of tasks of their likes and dislikes. This will be a vital learning of life.

Plan child’s days:
Organizing the child’s day around our work time can be helpful in creating an uninterrupted work time. However the plan should include engaging activities and planned screen time to keep them busy.
The major focus while doing this should be considering the children as part of the whole plan. So the family meeting should not only give them a set of instructions but also focus on valuing them as individual.
We parents must utilize this situation to make our children self reliant. The focus should be to stretch their limit.

The ‘Engagement Plan’ of children should include: Academic+ Creative+ Daily Chores. This increases a sense of responsibility among them and they feel valued.
 Make a complete time table for children
 Include school work as well as supplementary activities
 Planned screen time available (keeping the content study and research oriented)
NOTICE: They work alongside with you as if they were coming to the office with you. (The effectiveness of this may vary, depending on your children’s ages and needs.)
Engagement Work plan for the day:


 Breakfast on time
 Daily chores: Watering the plant/ dusting/folding clothes
 Shower and getting dressed
 Given assignments to do at home


 Daily chores: Set the table for lunch
 Have lunch
 play video games with friends remotely/ book reading
 A quick nap ( at every age it gives safe time for you )


 Daily chores: Have some snacks
 If possible: Encourage them to make some non fire snacks & everybody can enjoy
 Mini craft
Different activities for different age groups:


 Naps, swings, bouncy chairs
 Shows or videos of poems, cartoons
 Listen to songs

    Toddlers through elementary:

 Favorite shows and/or related online games. .
 Educational games and apps

    If they’re older:

• Reading, writing stories
• Educational, positive, or inspirational shows or movies
• School platforms
• Craft activities
• Check our earlier blog for more activities
While some parents are looking to home school schedules and sharing lists of online activities that are temporarily waiving subscription fees, others are removing the caps on screen time
Use your children’s naptime to your advantage
 If your kids are still taking nap, then you’ve got an hour – or two or three – of uninterrupted time to focus.
 Make sure you save this time to complete tasks that require your full attention.
 Schedule calls or work on a challenging project while your kids are asleep.
 Then complete less challenging or low-priority tasks when they’re awake.
 Even shift working will come very handy for children of this age where one parent could be available for the child always.
 Keep your colleagues also in loop to share this plan so that even they could accommodate the calls/ video calls as per the plan.

    Below 5 years

If your kids are too old for naps,
 Use the “quiet play time” every day at the same time.
 Some parents have a special box of toys and books that only come out during quiet play time. The kids get to play with these special toys, and the limited availability keeps them fresh and interesting.
 Treat this time like ‘gold time’ and use it to focus on your most important work.
 Resist the temptation to put the house back in order during naptime or quiet play time. You can clean up the house when your workday is over.
NOTICE: Despite your best efforts, there will be days when things don’t go as planned. This is where flexibility in our approach is essential. You might have to finish up your work after the kids go to sleep, or early the next morning before they wake up.

    5 years and above

This is the age of habit building and children should be encouraged to create positive habit. There are multiple researches, highlighting that the kind of habit being set at this age, exist for life time.
 Give them a list of household activities such as :
o Gardening, folding clothes, setting the lunch and dinner table, dusting, cleaning the table post lunch and dinner, cleaning the table mat
Set Rules
Set the rules very firmly and follow them as well. In the family meeting explain them very clearly.
 Closed door: Explain that when the door to your office is closed, they have to knock before they come in.
 There could be time slots where you ‘do not want to be disturbed’ at all. That means they can’t even knock on the door, slide a note under the door, or text you with any questions.
 Also, explain that once the official time is over, you’ll come out and check on them but until that happens, they need to either wait for you or solve the problem themselves.
Reward good behavior
Setting rules and following them would need a lot of monitoring. Working from home will create the most unwanted situation i.e. when the child very energetically interrupts you in the most important client meeting.

Be prepared for it…use all the techniques to calm and keep your temper in control. Take a deep breath and you may need to excuse yourself for a very short time. Quickly go to instruct the child to buy time but in few cases you need to deal with the problem.

After completing the task having a detailed discussion (not scolding) with the child is imperative. Explain how you felt about the whole situation as it impacted your work and would not like him/her to repeat.
As an adult we often underestimate the understanding level of the children however if the right kind of communication is used, over a period of time, they certainly respond appropriately.

When your kids don’t interrupt you, reward them
After doing so much of hard work a child should be rewarded if they have not interrupted you.
o Give them lots of praise, and thank them for their help.
o While older children may not appreciate the gesture as much, they might appreciate extra video game time.
However we should take this opportunity in setting some positive parenting rules as well. One of the major aspects is redesigning the reward system in family.

Usually rewarding in our families are always associated with buying expensive items such as video games, accessories or dinner outside but we could replace this practice with simple ways of rewarding. The new rewarding system could include …
 Hand written thank you note
 Session of applause
 Enjoying the favorite dish of the child
 Naming a recipe on the good behavior
 Capturing the situation with a creative collage
 Spend some extra time with them and read a book or play a game.
NOTICE: Yes, these rewards sound remarkably similar to bribes but it’s a very heavy work for a child to control the temptation of not meeting their parents knowing that they are in the next room. So they deserve a reward for this.
Follow a strict routine and set specific work hours to be more focused, more alert, and more productive.

Positively Engaging Children

These are challenging times for parents. What is important is to keep your cool and not discuss too much in front of the children specially the young ones. Tell them the basics of hygiene and how important it is to follow them.
Till the age of 7-8 this should suffice. You as parents have to keep a close watch on them. If the child is more than 8 years of age you can tell them about the virus and how it spreads. Keep it more academic and less of details about the statistics. They can still get worried. Give them lot of assurance about how it’s preventable.
It’s important we focus on family bonding and should device a family time table with everybody’s role clearly mentioned there. We all understand that our children and old parents both are highly affected in this difficult situation. It’s essential for us to create a balance between these two generations and keep them occupied positively.
It is a good idea to encourage our children to talk to their grandparents over the phone if they stay far away. It’s a win-win situation for all. If they stay with you then you can involve them in keeping the children occupied. They are blessed to have their grandparents living with them.
Tips shares by our PEPP members
• You can use audio books:(
• With older children try spring cleaning of the house.
• Storytelling session is one more app in Google play store:
• Try jig saw puzzles with varying levels of difficulty depending on the age of the child. You get from 10 – 3000 pieces.
For kids below 5 or just about 5
• Play dough or atta balls shapes, animals, rolling/cutting might be fun. Even pounding is good time pass with rice puffs, white channa, and beans.
o Could also take it one step further. Ask them to roll real Rotis. Or make dough for cookies and ask them to cut and help you in baking. They feel very proud of the end result.
• Any indoor physical game to tire the kid out.
o Besides water play, jumping, dancing, rolling on the floor, catch me kind of game, hide and seek.
• Teach them by example it’s not a bad idea to press elders feet, give them a little massage. They enjoy it, get tired, plus the elders bless them and love the little hands touch

Options for story telling:
1. Amar Chitra Katha and Tinkle are offering their entire catalog free, this month
o Amar Chitra Katha:
o Tinkle:

Tips shared by Samunnati:
For children below 5 years
• Engage them in house hold chores like
1. Folding clothes.
2. Peeling onions or even cutting vegetables with a butter knife is fine.
3. Help in making sandwiches or anything where they can spread
4. Mixing for cake. I used to do with my daughter
5. Good time to do some baking together
6. Wash veggies and fruits.
For children around 8-10 years of age
• Can play any number of games.
• Starting with memory games. : Ask them to go around the house looking at things. After a certain time tell them to recollect items under different categories.
1. Like sports items
2. Food items
3. Dressing table items and so on.
For children across age group
• Look at it as bonding time. Spring is in the air. Nature has forced us to look at her bounty. Ask children to identify the different birds that are in plenty now.
• Do the same with flowers. You can download google lens app for this purpose
• Another fun activity I used to do with my children when they were small was to dance. Put on some nice peppy number and dance for an hour with them. Good exercise for all of you. When my children grew up we have done zumba together many a times. Whole family can be involved in zumba or philates.
• Even photo album session is a good activity. All could cherish sweet memories. If you are in a joint family ask them to look at photos with their grandparents.Time to unwind and revisit old memories
• Even mindful meditation is a good idea for children. Colouring is a form of meditation as well.
• A lost skill is embroidery….which could be tried
• Also design your old Denims/ kurta with some nice button, fabric, laces painting.
• Digital detoxification: This is the time we all tend to fall into this trap more than ever. Limit your own screen time. Regulate their screen time too. You can watch a movie together or play an online game together. But don’t let it take up all your time
• Give a topic and asks her to do some online research and write a page. For eg: Russian revolution. This will be relevant for them as a part of school curriculum as well
Question Answer Session
Q: My daughter does the task that I give her only as long as I too am involved in it. She refuses to do it alone and that makes me busier on days when she has holidays. Pease suggest some ways.
This is quite common among single children. Parents tend to take on the role of siblings
What is important is bonding and teaching them to do house hold chores. No better time than this. You can list the chores that need to be done and ask them to choose what they would like to do. Give them a time frame within which you expect them to complete it.
Having said that since she is old enough to understand tell her you can’t be with her all the time. Ask her to contribute towards house hold chores. She can choose what interests her. If she can’t choose tell her you will choose for her. Initially give her a task where you are also involved and then move on to different tasks.
For eg: if you are cooking ask her to cut vegetables or clean the utensils. You are together but doing different chores.
Q: My 14 year old daughter loves outdoor games and because of this lockdown it’s very difficult to keep her engaged please suggest some methods
Many children love out door games and confining them to a limited space can be challenging. For such children as well as children who are otherwise glued to their mobiles and x boxes kinesthetic is important.
If they like dance let them dance to music. Ask them to change the steps. They will love the innovation. Spot exercises are good for children.
Make them do some house hold chores as I said earlier because that is a physical activity. Depending on their age: sweeping, mopping, dusting or hand washing of clothes all are good
This also prepares them to look at house hold work with more respect and they will know it’s important. Children should be made to understand that the domestic helps are doing their job and not the other way round. (
Sky is the limit. We could be innovative to handle this tough times more positively. It‘s a great time to spend together as family which we have been always missing so far. Don’t fret over pending chores. Children grow up fast and before you know they are out of home. So enjoy this forced time together to maximum.
We are extremely thank full to all our PEPP members who have shared their creative activities to engage children positively and also made this blog so interesting for all of us.