Siblings Babysitting

Any mom who has multiple kids has at some point thought, "Should I let them sit for each other, or will it turn into a WWF match?" Siblings sitting for siblings can be challenging, especially when there's no incentive for them to do the job right. But never fear — even the most stubborn big brother or sister can become a good babysitter with the right coaxing. Read on for tips on how to ensure that your siblings don't end up reenacting the Trojan Wars.

Establish authority
Often, when sibling sitting jobs go sour, it's because the sibling who is left in charge of the kids has not received enough authority or grown-up privileges in previous interactions with you, their parent. In order for the younger siblings to obey another sibling, they need to start seeing that sibling as an authority figure. The most credible way to establish this is through your actions. Find ways to let your kids know that, for instance, Cindy is now a "grown-up." This might mean letting her sit in the front seat of the car, upping her allowance or even just changing your tone of voice with her.

If you don't establish for some time before the job that Cindy is in change of her younger siblings at age 12, and start treating her as such, two things will happen. First, the kids will walk all over her when you leave the house, and second, Cindy herself will revert to "kid mode" and be much more likely to yell back and start swinging when they act up with her. Kids who are treated like adults begin acting like adults. It's that simple.

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