Thursday

Mothers and Professional Nannies....

how do you handle
I am a nanny for two children. They are a year and a half apart. They fight all day every day and over everything. I spend 12 hours a day with them. I need for this to stop. I would humbly request your best advice for dealing with sibling rivalry. Issues include fighting, arguing, hitting, antagonizing, constantly trying to one up the other, not being able to sit on a sofa and watch a movie without some of the above occuring, not being able to keep their hands and feet to themselves at breakfast, dinner, lunch, etc. HELP!! They are 4 and a half and 6 years old.

7 comments:

STLNanny said...

I am a nanny for three kids who know how to fight as well. When it's really bad, sometimes I find that they just need to get away from each other so I have them do quiet time in separate rooms...no electronics, just reading or coloring.

I also find that getting outside helps as well. A little fresh air goes a long way!

finally, I reward them for good bahavior! We do a sticker chart. If they kids go the entire day without me having to break up a fight (and don't count light arguing unless it doesn't stop after a warning) then they get a sticker. When the sticker chart is full, we get to go somewhere fun (zoo, movie, indoor playplace, etc)

Hope this helps!

Nome said...

The book 'Siblings without Rivalry' is great to read. I think you can expect conflict. What you can teach is alternative ways of resolving issues. Help them problem solve, use their words, be clear of their needs and guide them in expressing their feelings. Overall think of teaching them skills to resolve their own conflicts as they age.

SanDiegoNanny said...

@Nome: I agree--I highly recommend Siblings Without Rivalry as well!

nycmom said...

I have the same problem with my 11yo daugher and 9yo son. It has been going on forever. They constantly fight about *everything*. My daughter knows how to push my son's buttons and does so all the time. My son, who is by nature very easygoing, takes a lot but when he reaches his breaking poing he hits. Then my daughter tries to blame my son by immediately reporting he hit (which we hold out as the ultimate unacceptable behavior). However, I've come to see her manipulation is just as destructive.

Anyway, what has worked for us, albeit only for a few weeks at at time is primarily strict rules with strict consequences. We sit down and write up a behavioral "contract" with specific rules such as "no hitting, touching, pushing, punching, slapping each other." My kids are very wiley and if there is any wiggle room, they exploit it. Then we write out consequences which are generally either being confined to bedroom for one hour for minor issues (no electronics allowed), no electronics (TV, computer, ipod, video games) for 3 days or longer depending on issue, taking away an expected event such as a day trip.

The key is to make the consequences age-appropriate and something the kids will truly value. Now, it is MUCH easier for me to enforce this than my husband or my nanny. That's because my husband often doesn't stick to the consequences. For my nanny, I always support her 100% and tell her to write down if the kids break the rules and I will enforce the consequences. However, it is still harder for her and if she has a weakness, discipline with my older kids is it. I think it's hard for caregivers because they want to be liked and worry about parents' response if the kids are compaining about them; they aren't there to enforce the rules after they leave; parents often intentionally or unintentionally undermine the nanny's authority by giving the kids a pass on the consequence.

The key is that you need to work in concert with the parents. You all need to be consistent and you need to make it clear that the kids cannot split you up and play you against one another. You are a team.

op said...

NYC Mom & Others,
I appreciate the advice. Very much!

world's best nanny said...

? What happened to my comment ?

Marypoppin'pills said...

Sorry, WBN... I didn't see a comment from you show up in my mailbox, it happens occasionally. This has been a Google glitch that has been going on for months now.