These 4 tips can help teach your kids to share - and they're less hands-on than you might expect

Sick of your kids fighting? Taking a step back could be the answer

Two young boys fighting over a toy dinosaur
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Teach your kids to share with these four expert tips - and find out how to swap playing the role of referee for the narrator to help avoid fights.

Even though research has suggested kids who fight with their siblings will fare better in life, constantly breaking up squabbles can be exhausting for parents - leaving them looking for tips to prevent sibling rivalry. Fortunately, toddler experts Deena and Kristin - aka Big Little Feelings - have shared their top tips for resolving a fight between siblings - and they're easier to action than you might think.

In a post on Instagram, they suggest taking a step back can actually encourage and teach children to share. Instead of intervening or trying to solve the squabble, "stop over-controlling and start narrating the situation as a neutral party" Deen and Kirstin advise. This might not come naturally to some parents, but Deena and Kirstin have explained why it works.

"When we step into an ongoing game of tug-of-war, our kids are not learning how to handle the situation when (not if, but WHEN) another sibling squabble happens again," they explain. "So maybe we should try a few long-term tools to reduce those sibling quarrels?"

They note that if the situation is getting violent or aggressive then yes, it's probably time to step in, but if not, they offer four steps you can take instead of "playing the referee". And they say these tips will help your kids build real sharing skills.

A post shared by Toddler Experts

A photo posted by biglittlefeelings on

  1. Bring a cool, confident energy: Deena and Kirsten invite you to remember "You are the badass leader of your troupe that is cool, calm, and collected in heightened and tense situations between your kids."
  2. Accept and acknowledge: Naming the feelings can help big emotions settle. For example, saying out loud, "You two are mad at each other".
  3. Narrate: Explaining the situation out loud will make sure everyone feels seen and no one's being blamed. Deena and Kirsten use the example: "Arlo, you want to play with my sock, and Eden, you do too."
  4. Empower: Now that both sides are feeling seen, there can be a pause in the action. Ask your kids, "What could you both do here?"

And in good news for parents, Deena and Kirsten explain that you can still try these tools with a preverbal child. They write, "Your toddler can understand you before they can speak, so don’t be surprised if your kid gives you a toy back with this response!"

Deena and Kirsten's followers were impressed by the advice, and some shared how they had used it themselves. One wrote in the comments, "I love this! Also worth noting…attempting to narrate like some sort of pro referee was humorous enough to get me out of a highly frustrated state".

In related news, research has found the surprising way having siblings can affect a teen's mental health. Elsewhere, these five 'game changing' phrases can teach your children about the mental load, and here are four expert ways you can help your stressed teen.

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.