Siblings hurting younger brother

Amy - posted on 05/22/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have three toddlers that all share a room. The oldest is almost four the middle one is my almost three year old daughter and the younger one is my 19 month old son. Often when the three kids are playing in their room the older two will start using very rough play with the younger one. Both of them enjoy that kind of play and also use it with each other with no problem. However the younger one does not like it and screams and cries when they do it. How do I teach them to play kinder with their more sensitive little brother?

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Amy - posted on 05/24/2010

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I have been teaching them the idea of gentle for several years, though we do not have any pets (not allowed in our apartment) I have had so many babies so close together that I had to teach gentle for the baby. I appreciate the ideas and some may help. What I forgot to mention in the original post is that all three have learning disabilities and the oldest is on the autism spectrum, though not sure exactly where yet. None of the three talk or communicate in any other way yet. Therefore I can't get replies to questions. But I will work to reinforce the idea of gentle with their brother, I haven't thought of actually using those exact words, though I did know that they know them. Thank you.

Louise - posted on 05/24/2010

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The four year old is more than capable of understanding what sort of play is appropriate for his younger brother. Get down to eye level with him and tell him that this is hurting his brother and that he should be kind. The way to teach children how to be gentle is usually with a family pet. Gentle patting the dog, gentle stroking the cat. You need to reinforce the words gentle and careful. If you do not have a family pet go to a petting zoo. A child needs to be taught gentle and careful for them to have any meaning to the words. Once the words have been reinforced bring them into action saying be gentle with your brother he is only small. Careful with him you will hurt him. Children do find this concept really hard so be there to reinforce safe play for all. Play games also saying do I need to be gentle when I carry eggs? Yes. Do I need to be gentle when I kick a ball? No. Do I need to be gentle when holding a mouse? Yes. Do I need to be gentle when playing lego? No. Hope this has given you some ideas!

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