Jealousy is the suspicion that a person we love has moved his or her affection to another. It is natural and quite common for children, in their developmental stage, to feel this emotion and suffer from the fear that their parents will take their "attention" elsewhere.

In fact, it is very common to encounter the so-called "dethroned prince syndrome" when a younger sibling arrives at home and begins to form part of the family. The older siblings feel that they are no longer the protagonists and may mistakenly believe that they are less loved or not valued enough.

Sometimes, children may also feel jealous of friends or peers, although it is usually much more common in the family environment.

From the nursery school and kindergarten in Las Rozas de Madrid logos Nursery we want to share with you some useful information about this field to be able to identify children's jealousy correctly and some tips to deal with it. In our nursery school we have an emotional program endorsed by Yale University, called RULER program in which children are taught to identify and cope in a healthy way through strategies to deal with this type of emotions.


At what age does this occur?

Childhood jealousy can occur at any age.

It is not uncommon to notice its appearance when a new member arrives in the family, at any stage of the child's development. Contrary to popular misconception, the phenomenon of infantile jealousy does not only occur with first-born children.

What symptoms can children with this jealousy develop?

The following are some symptoms of this type of jealousy, which can help us to detect and identify them, as a first step to be able to stop them.

- One of the most common symptoms we may notice are tantrums, or observing that the child suddenly requires constant attention that he/she did not need until that moment. Insistent demands for parental attention are the most common symptom.

- Sometimes we can also notice how they express this emotion through physical discomfort such as headaches or pain in the abdomen.

- Feeling regular anger with parents, with no apparent cause.

- Also, sadness or lack of motivation.

-Sleep disturbances such as insomnia, difficulty sleeping, nightmares, night terrors, etc.

-Regression or involution in language.

How can we deal with child jealousy?

-Although at times we may be tempted to make comparisons between our children, their siblings or other children, in order to encourage them to improve in some area, we should not do so. Avoid preferences or comparisons. Every child is different and the best way to help them improve in a particular area is to focus on their own circumstances and abilities.

-Do not generate an idyllic expectation before the arrival of a new family member. If we draw the child a future in which everything will be wonderful when his brother arrives home, we are generating fear before that expectation. Talk about it naturally without falling into exaggeration.

-Dedicate exclusive time to the little one, and let him/her know that you love him/her verbally.

-You can also help by encouraging communication and trust between siblings by doing as many family activities as possible. As they learn to be together and have a solid relationship with each other, jealousy will diminish and give way to other more affectionate emotions.

-In the case of siblings, involving the child in the care of the new baby can be of great help. As in the previous point, it helps to change that emotion for others of responsibility, care and brotherly love.

One last tip: there are children's stories dedicated to jealousy, which will make them reflect on their behavior and conduct. It can be very helpful to read them to your child.

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