Alleviating Sibling Rivalry

Article by Guest Writer: Dr. Michael K. Meyerhoff

Is your preschooler less than thrilled about the addition of a new baby to your family?  Are you witnessing the start of some sibling rivalry?  If so, it is important to recognize that your older child’s attitude is perfectly normal and eminently understandable.  As adults, we can appreciate lofty sentiments like “love expands the more it is shared.”  But in the mind of a young child, attention equals love, and the less he gets the more his resentment grows.

romp n roll classConsequently, you can’t talk your way out of the situation.  Simply telling the older child that he is loved just as much as before will have virtually no effect.  You have to actually show him.  And perhaps the best way to do that is to set aside a significant chunk of time every day that is reserved for just the two of you to do something special together.  Reading him a story while rocking the baby on your lap doesn’t count.  It has to be a walk around the block, a crafts project, a science experiment, a drama session, a sporting contest, or anything else through which he gets your exclusive attention.

You might want to note that all Romp n’ Roll classes for preschoolers make parent participation an option.  Sometimes these classes can provide a parent the opportunity to drop off the kid so she can get errands done, take a class herself, or simply have a break.  But these classes also can provide a parent the opportunity to create an exciting and enjoyable “just you and me” experience that may be sorely needed if sibling rivalry is on the rise.


Dr.-Mike-150x150Michael K. Meyerhoff, Ed.D. (a.k.a. “Dr. Mike”) is a member of the management team at Romp n’ Roll.  After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University, he earned his master’s and doctorate degrees in human development from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he also held a position as a researcher with the Harvard Preschool Project.  He may be contacted via e-mail at


Romp n’ Roll is a Sponsor of