Toddler expert shares her simple tip for preventing sibling rivalry - and she promises it will be 'life-changing'

This could stop issues right from the start...

Two toddlers fighting over a toy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A toddler expert has shared a top tip for preventing sibling rivalry - she calls it 'Don't blame the baby'. 

Parenting is full of challenges. From matresence to mum guilt, there are so many new experiences to get to grips with and, for many parents, the mental load doubles when baby number two arrives. 

And one of the common things that parents worry about is how their elder child will react to a new baby, as naturally, the attention they receive will shift. This age-old concern has been addressed by toddler experts Deena and Kristin - aka Big Little Feelings - who have shared an expert hack for preventing sibling rivalry right from the start.  

Posting on their joint Instagram account, parent coach Kristin explains her "life-changing hack", which she promises will prevent sibling rivalry and jealousy. She calls it 'Don't blame the baby'.

She advises that when your toddler wants time and attention but you can't give it to them, don't tell them that it's because of the baby. She adds, "Say the exact same things, you can still say no, just don't blame the baby."

Don't blame the baby: Preventing sibling rivalry

  • Instead of: "No, I can't play with you right now. I'm feeding the baby." Try: "I would love to play with you! I juts need six minutes and then I'll play with you."
  • Instead of: "No, we are not going to the playground right now. Your sister is being too fussy." Try: "We can't go to the park right now, but we can go to the park after nap time."

Kristin explains, "Think about this from your toddler's perspective. Ever since this little tiny thing that's crying all the time came into their lives, all of a sudden they can't be loud, mummy doesn't play with me as much anymore, and I can't go to the park."

In the caption, Big Little Feelings add: "If you blame the baby for taking away your time [and] attention, your toddler will naturally start to resent the baby. (Who wouldn’t in that scenario?!) We want our toddler to feel loved, seen, and secure. But more importantly, we don’t want them to feel the baby is more important than they are."

Instagram users were impressed with the tip, with one saying, "I saw this post before giving birth and it’s by far the best advice I’ve ever seen." Another added, "This has always been my mantra! I have 4 kids two years apart each and had really smooth transitions and they play really really well together now and love one another."

One parent shared how she put the tip into practice, saying, "I learned this from y’all before I had my 2nd and this is such great advice. Sometimes I even talk to the baby and say 'be patient baby, it’s toddler’s turn to snuggle with mommy!'"

And even those without multiple children were interested in the hack. One said, "Wow this is eye opening. My daughter doesn’t have any siblings but I’ve witnessed this with other families and it makes sense."

But despite the helpful tip, plenty of Instagram users shared they still struggle with this area of parenting. One asked, "Any thoughts on what to do when they just scream 'no' to these responses? Most of the time my daughter is fine, but sometimes she just keeps yelling 'no' and crying". 

Another questioned, "And how would you approach the being quiet? I do blame the baby when she’s sleeping, but I can’t find another way…" The parenting experts responded by advising the user to practice impulse control. And they share plenty of tips to help build this skill in their highlights.

In other parenting news, one Norland Nanny has revealed some top tips for common parenting dilemmas and parenting expert Pamela Li shared how to carve out some 'alone time' this Christmas. Plus, we've revealed the parenting rules David and Victoria Beckham swear by.  

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.