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Why Do We Set Resolutions Anyway?

Every year thousands of people create “New Years Resolutions.” My family tradition was to write them down, put them in a sealed envelope behind a picture over the mantle.  We’d look at the previous year’s resolutions and have a laugh over what we did and didn’t do. Why do we do it?

History of New Year’s Resolutions

Though New Year’s isn’t the only time to make a resolution and to seek change, it’s probably the most popular. So we’ll start here and explore the history of this concept and how it came to be. Civilizations as far back as the Babylonians 4000 years ago have rung in the New Year by paying specific attention to the idea of fresh starts. The annual calendar of the Babylonians began in March, and they would traditionally celebrate with a festival lasting 11 days. During this time, they would offer the gods promises such as resolving to clear up their debts in order to gain the deities’ favor. Ancient Egyptians’ year was marked to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile. The Roman emperor, Julius Caesar, was the first to recognize the beginning of the year as January 1st in honor of, Janus, the god of new beginnings. The heralding in of the New Year as the first of January didn’t remain in fashion until 1582, however, when Pope Gregory XIII developed the Gregorian calendar.

Reasons We Make Resolutions

There are a number of reasons why we make resolutions. As people, especially as leaders, it’s natural to want to progress in our personal development and to improve upon our lives. Making a resolution provides clarity to our lives. It’s like giving us a road map to follow with regard to achieving our goals. Making a resolution also solidifies our sense of purpose. It allows us to make our reasons for existing more tangible and concrete. Making promises to ourselves keeps us accountable, as well. Without this action, we stray from our intended purpose. This can lead to feelings such as loss of self-esteem, worthlessness, emotional turmoil and confusion. Finally, it simply makes us feel good, with a sense of accomplishment, to achieve the goals we set through resolutions. We’re able to measure our progress, and that’s quite satisfying.

Strategies for Making Resolutions

While we’re delve into ways to make your resolutions stick and other tips for making them, I’d like to at least touch on some general strategies for developing realistic intentions. First, choose just a few things from your wish list to accomplish so that you don’t become overwhelmed and quit before you even really get started. Next, be specific with your intentions. Making a vague statement like, “I will lose weight,” isn’t very effective. Stating the number of pounds you hope to lose in a particular time frame is a far better approach. One final tip is to remain accountable for the promises you make to yourself. You can share your goals with friends or even record your progress in a journal. These steps will help to ensure you are moving forward.

Now you have an idea of why we set resolutions. It’s important to understand the reason behind doing something if you want to improve your chances of success. Let’s move on to explore the importance of setting goals.

Join me on a 30 day resolution & goal setting challenge.


A goal is your target. It’s a desired outcome that you hope to attain. Goals have a definite and precise end point. You’ll know when you’ve achieved your goal. You can place a timeframe on them. There are both short-term and long-term goals you set for yourself. Goals can also fall into various categories among the different aspects of your life. For example, you can set career, relationship or personal goals.


When it comes to resolutions, the term can be used in a number of ways across varying contexts. For our purposes, we’ll be looking at personal resolutions that have to do with the trajectory we’d like to take with our lives. A resolution is a promise to yourself, and it’s something that’s usually more open-ended than a specific goal. Making a resolution usually entails altering some aspect of your life, such as eating healthier, focusing on loved ones more or managing your finances better.

How They’re Related

These two terms actually go hand-in-hand. That’s why they’re so often referenced together. Your resolutions are made up of goals. The resolution is the overarching theme or the implied direction you wish to take with your life. The goals are the activities that fall within the theme or the specific steps to take you to that place. If you resolve to lose weight or eat healthier, which is probably the most common New Year’s Resolution, you need to set goals for how you will accomplish such a wish. Without goals, resolutions often go unmet. You’ve likely experienced setting a resolution, only to have it fall flat and be left behind within a month or two. That’s natural and lies within the realm of normal human behavior. We attend to what’s immediately in front of us. Setting goals and checking in with them on a regular basis keeps them at the forefront of your mind, making those resolutions more likely to become a reality.

Essentially, a resolution is something you will constantly be working toward, while a goal is specific and finite. Resolutions are made up of goals. They are relevant and intertwined. Those who choose to join me in a 30 day challenge will be focusing on both as we proceed along our challenge.

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Pilot Program Goes Live

A Teacher led class, available where you are.

You want a class with a real time instructor, to train your new assistant director or director, but they are hard to find and/or take FOREVER to finish (several semesters).  How do you know if the folks teaching it even know what they are talking about?  It is so frustrating!

Texas Director has heard this complaint and is solving it.  We are opening our live, teacher led, classes to folks across Texas in a dynamic and accessible  way.

Anyone with a decent internet connection and a computer with a built in camera, (or in a pinch a person with a computer and a smart phone) can participate in real time in the class, asking questions, clarifying issues and exploring the material.  We will be using an online meeting platform that allows everyone to see each other.

January will be our pilot  program, so we are offering a ridiculous rate…$200.  We help you, and you help us by giving us feedback on how to improve.

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More Than a Sale

Thank You

Veteran’s Day is a weighty day at Kate’s house.  Several years ago a Veterans Day celebration was actually the send off part for her husband, Steve, as he went on a tour of duty in Iraq.

She was preparing to be an effectively single mother of 4 children.  Two were her step children.  They all worked to create a plan to stay connected and to handle the loss, though temporary.  Luckily, Steve came home as he has every time he has been deployed, but we didn’t know that yet.

It was a bitter sweet day.  Several of the veterans honored that day had never had people set aside time to thank them for their service. It has highlighted the need to actually say”Thank You” to veterans.

More than a Sale

For many of us Veterans Day is another excuse for car dealership to have a sale.  Just a day that the banks and post office are closed.

It is more.  It is time to show our appreciation for the men and women who have chosen to defend this country as their career, for a time.  We also should thank the spouses and children of veterans.  They sacrifice as well.

There is a Sale, though

If you are a veteran or immediate family member of one, please email Kate at for a special price on any of our courses, Director, business, or annual training.  This sale applies to the weeks before & after Veterans Day.

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Why Choose Texas Director?

A colleague asked me ,”Why should someone wanting to be a childcare Director in Texas choose Texas Director to help them?”  It is a good question.  One I had 20 or so answers to, but it all comes down to one thing: We will be there for you.

Kate and I started providing training and other services to Directors and teachers in 1998.  That means it is possible that one of our new directors was enrolled at a center that we helped that first year.  It blows my mind.  We listened to our peers and found ways to help them get the information and services they needed.  We created trainings based on what other Directors said they needed.

Director Credentialing

One thing centers needed was a way to get new Directors qualified to lead a program.  There were a couple of training groups that offered classes for new Directors over the course of a week, in a hotel in one of the 5 large cities in Texas, once or twice a year.  So if you lived in Lubbock, you had to take a week off from your center, drive to Dallas and stay in a hotel for that week.  That was not what we wanted as Directors, so we created a 2 weekend class, which worked better for the folks we talked to.

After doing those for a few years, Kate started exploring online learning and took Texas Director to the internet.  We were the first ones to offer online Director Credentialing.  We have 100% online classes, mixed online and live, and 100% in person classes.  Directors told us they needed different options, so we provided them.

Folks are telling us they need their new Directors to be qualified within the month. With our online and personalized courses, we have that handled.  They are designed to be able to be completed within a week if you push hard or a month at a steady pace.  Our Weekender course which combines online and in-person classwork is also designed to be finished in a month, but is only offered 6 times a year, currently.

Over the years other credentialing courses have come and gone.  What do you do when the company who gave you your certificate goes out of business?  For many folks, the answer has been to transfer your credential to Texas Director.  We allow folks to test in and join our membership if their company disappeared or they aren’t happy with the service and training they received elsewhere.  We will be here for you.


Some folks prefer the college route.  Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) issues Directors licenses to those who have related college experience or degrees.  Is this the best option for you?  Do you want material specific to running a child care center?  There are not many college courses in that vein.  You can find 20 classes that will help you run a classroom, which are great if you don’t have those skills but not many on center wide operations.  If you come from the classroom, you will want information about marketing, staffing, communication,  financial management, and business law.

Do you want to be a Director in less than a year?  If you need 3 business classes and 3 child development classes, you are probably looking at at least a year of college before you are qualified, presuming you are also continuing to work.  I will be 100% honest with you, DFPS often gives waivers for folks using this method to be come licensed, but I have a question for you: Do you really want to be running a center without knowing the basics of child development, classroom management, being a boss, taxes, legal issues and marketing?  Will that set you up for success?  Will your professors be available after class for you to problem solve when things go sideways.

I like college.  I have been a lot.  I take all kinds of classes that looked interesting or could teach me something I needed/wanted to know more about.  I have 2 degrees as does Kate.  (Hers are more impressive than mine.)  We hope you take college classes.  I am just not sold on it being the best way to get your Director’s license.


The last way DFPS licenses new Directors is with a Child Development Associate (CDA) and 2 college courses in business management.  The CDA is a wonderful, nationally recognized certificate showing proficiency as a classroom teacher.  To earn it you must have learned a fair amount either through workshops or college courses.  You have to have completed a 360 evaluation of your ongoing performance in the classroom and had an outside evaluator observe you working in your classroom.  I’ve always strongly encourage my staff to work towards earning their CDA.  If you are wanting to move from the classroom to the Director’s office, this may be a good option for you, but it has one big drawback.  You have to renew your CDA periodically, which means you must be working in a classroom.  As soon as your CDA lapses you are no longer a licensed Director.  Is it in your center’s best interest to have the Director working as a classroom teacher while running the center?

We’ll Be There for You

We love working with and for Directors, both in getting them started and in growing with their business.  No matter what happens, we are here to offer you support.  We create training materials, handbooks, and customized plans based on what a Director needs.

When hurricanes hit the coast our directors called us and we worked with them to get their centers taken care of.  When a center lost its lease unexpectedly we helped them find another location.  When a Director was threatened with a law suit, we were there.  When a Director wanted to open a second and then a third location we were there to help her.  When a center was having unacceptable staff-turnover, we were there.  When you need us, we will be there.

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10 Ways to Deal With a Director’s High Stress

Being a Director is stressful.  We all have days that are considerably more challenging and stressful than others. Unfortunately, stress is hard on both your mind and body.

Too many high stress days can really take its toll. And what’s worse, you could even become so used to being in this “high state of alert” that you start to feel like it’s normal! Don’t let this happen to you.  Your family and center need you.  More than that you should take care of yourself, before you take care of others.

It’s important to develop some techniques that help you relieve stress and strengthen your self-soothing abilities.

When you’re struggling to stay calm, relaxed, and focused, try some of these strategies:

  1. Breathe deeply.Breathe in for 5 seconds and hold it for 5 seconds. Now exhale for 5 seconds. Do this 10 times and focus only on your breathing. These breaths should only be slightly larger in volume than a normal, relaxed breath.
  2. Take a walk.Practice the breathing technique above during your walk, focusing on your breathing, walking, and surroundings.Nothing else should enter your mind. If your mind insists on wandering to non-productive thinking, you might have to simply keep repeating, “Taking a step”to yourself over and over.
  3. Get some exercise.Any time of day is a good time to exercise. Comfortably tired is what you’re looking for. Work out your frustrations by going for a run or swim. Hit the weights and show them who is boss. Any exercise will do as long as there is some intensity involved.Shuffleboard isn’t going to cut it.
  4. Sit outside.A little time at the beach or park can work wonders. Find a relaxing spot with pleasant scenery. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and keep your mind off your challenges. Even 10 to 15 minutes can greatly reduce your stress.
  5. Take a day off.Everyone needs a break once in a while. However, on your day off, it’s important to avoid just sitting around and brooding about all of your current difficulties. Take your mind off of things and have some fun.Lose yourself in activities that you enjoy.
  6. Read.Find something engrossing to read. The ideal book would be able to take your mind off of things for a few hours. Ask your friends for some recommendations, or if you’re like most people, you probably have a couple of books on the shelf that you’ve never gotten around to. Now is the perfect time to read it.
  7. Listen to music.Again, it should be something engrossing that really captures your attention. Don’t be afraid to get up and dance; no one is watching anyway.
  8. Disconnect.No phone and no computer. Turn off everything that connects you to the outside world. Then you can really relax. Stay offline for as long as you can.
  9. Take a nap.There’s no better way to start over than to take a nap.When you wake up, it feels like another chance to start your day over. What happened before your nap is in the past! Now you can deal with it and move on.
  10. Hang out with people that are fun.Get the gang together and meet for a drink. Or have dinner with the friend that always makes you laugh. It’s easy to get caught up in our own little world. Being with others can jolt you out of that perspective.

Don’t let high stress get you down. The key is to actively do something about it.Some people develop a habit of being paralyzed when things start going sideways, but this does nothing to make you feel better or solve your stressful issues.

Actively relax so you’ll be better able to tackle your challenges. Use these tips to minimize the pressure and anxiety you’re feeling and take control of yourself and the situation. Dealing with your challenges effectively is crucial to living the peaceful life you deserve.

We will be putting out a complete Stress Management Workshop very soon.  Enter your information below to get updates about this class and periodic stress management tips.

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Inspiration: Start the Day Off Right

Beginnings excite me.  Every day is a new chance to achieve.

Something new is likely to come into my life. New relationships, experiences and successes all provide a new lease on life for me. Newness brings the feeling of excitement to me and gives more meaning to my existence.

I love getting new challenges and responsibilities at the school. They give me a chance to pull on my core strengths. I got the opportunity to prove myself worthy of any situation that flashes in front of me.

Starting a new project at work is like getting that second wind.  Those of you who came through the live class or the hybrid, you KNOW this about me.  Coming up with a new project is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  Brainstorming with you is something I really look forward to during your coaching sessions.

Whenever I make a long-awaited purchase, I get so excited to take it home with me. Such experiences take me back to childhood and getting holiday gifts. But I am even more excited as an adult because I see my hard work paying off.  When I get a new piece of playground equipment or classroom resources, I am definitely a kid in a candy store.

I hope you feel this way too.  If you don’t, let me send you daily inspirational quotes for the next month.  Just enter you details below and I will send you some sunshine!!!

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Director’s Keys to Professionalism

We need to be ever mindful of the effect we have on others lives. We are taking care of this world’s most precious commodity: the children. How they are treated affects what the world will be like tomorrow and for years to come.  When you are in a tight spot, ask yourself how you would want to be treated if you were in the other person’s shoes? What is morally right? If you use these as your guideposts, you will have a lot fewer professionalism concerns.

keyConfidentiality: The three rules that you and your staff MUST make reasonable efforts to keep confidential:

  1. Medical and developmental issues
  2. Family status
  3. Financial information

keyConsistency: Questions to ask your self:

  1. Is this what is in my documents?
  2. Did I do this last week?
  3. Is this how I want to be remembered?

keyEducation: Continue professional development through continuing education courses, workshops or college courses. Participate in professional organizations and conferences.

keyEthical Conduct: If you have questions on what is right or wrong, review one of the professional codes of conduct in the next section.

keyResourcefulness: Have an active Rolodex, appropriate resource directories and actively network in and out of your field.

keyHonesty: Convey the facts to clients. Keep staff up to date about issues. Be accurate in paperwork.

keyAlertness: Know your staff and your parents, spot observations. Read pertinent periodicals.

keyMindfulness: You are a model to the community, your staff, children in your care and parent.

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Why Waiting for the Right Moment is Often a Mistake

Are you waiting for the perfect time to launch your grand plan? We don’t like to wait in line, but we’re more than content to wait for some other things. Diets are commonly started on a Monday, or the first of the month, or the first of the year. It’s rare that someone chooses to start a diet right this very minute.

The same mindset applies to starting a business, going back to school, learning to play guitar, writing a book, or having a difficult conversation. We believe that challenging objectives require optimal conditions.

The idea that perfect conditions are necessary is flawed:

  1. Life is much too short. Eventually, we all run out of time. No one can wait forever. That doesn’t mean to be impulsive and throw all caution to the wind. It does mean, however, that it would benefit you to act soon.
  2. Life will always get in the way. Waiting for the right moment is like saving the money you have left over at the end of the month. You’ll never have any time to spare, just as you’ll never have any money left over.
    Make time for the important things you want to do or accomplish. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to get started.
  1. Waiting is passive. Each day is filled with unique moments. It’s not necessary to wait until the perfect storm of opportunity, convenience, and motivation finally occurs. You can create special moments whenever you choose. Plenty of good moments are happening each day, but you’re failing to make the most of them.
  2. You don’t learn anything while you’re waiting. You’re not enhancing your skills or gaining any experience when you’re inactive. Make the most of right now and you’ll be better prepared for the future.
  3. Avoid regret. Do you really have the time to spare? Those that wait too long are filled with regret at the end of life. Do you want to look back on your life and think, “If only I would have …”
    Few things are worse than regret, especially when you’re no longer in the position to do anything about it. You might still be able to climb a mountain or learn to play the piano at the age of 80, but it might be easier when you’re 45. You’ll also have more time to enjoy it!
  1. Taking action results in a more exciting and fulfilled life. Taking action and failing is better than doing nothing at all. Even in failure, you’re learning, taking risks, and living life to the fullest. You’re better prepared for the future and gain a new perspective.
    Make your life interesting and fulfilling by deciding that right now is a good enough time to get started.
  1. Waiting results in a lack of control. While you’re passively waiting for the perfect situation to occur, you’re giving away control of your life. One common symptom among those with depression is the belief that they lack control over their lives. Why wait? Take action now to create the life you want and take back your control.

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Valuing yourself will result in valuing your time. When you value your time, you’ll begin to make the most of it. Every moment is important because you’re important. Avoid waiting any longer for the perfect moment to finally arrive. Get started today and create your own moments!



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Dealing with Sibling Rivalry

As directors, we often function as a counselor for both our teachers and the parents of our students.  This is not always the easiest part of the job, but it is a key role.  By being a sounding board for client issues we maintain the professional distance between teachers and parents, and increase family loyalty.  In helping teachers with their personal challenges we make it clear that we value them and help them to be able to focus when in the classroom.

Everyone at the center has family issues that can effect the program.  The director is well positioned to minimize that effect.  Below is an example of how one of those conversations might go.

Q: We have two daughters, Shelley and Jessie, who are very close in age. Shelley is 10 while Jessie is 8. They fight all the time. They’re always arguing and hitting each other, so it’s hard to have a peaceful home.

I’ve tried to discipline them and take away their privileges, but it’s not working.

How can I end this intense sibling rivalry between my young daughters? What can I do to stop their arguments, fights, and bickering?

A: It’s normal for siblings to have an occasional argument or disagreement. Although parents would prefer that their kids be perfect angels at all times, it’s not a realistic concept.

Children need to test boundaries and learn from their experiences as they grow.

One way they test boundaries is to challenge their siblings. The first step to have a more peaceful home is to understand this and learn how to help them.

You have to dig down to the real reason for their fights. Are they caused by boredom, overstimulation, or other issues? Are they caused by jealousy over the time you’re spending with the other sibling?

They could also be fighting to get your attention and involvement.

Once you’ve answered these important questions, you can begin to formulate a plan to improve your daughters’ behavior.

Q: I don’t think Shelley and Jessie are bored or overstimulated. I try not to favor one over the other, but they still fight.

It’s possible they’re doing this to get my attention. I work full-time outside of the home, and so does my husband. After work, I have chores and so many obligations that I can’t spend a lot of time with them.

If they’re doing it for attention, how can I fix it?

A: The best way to stop these desperate attempts for your attention is to give it to them. However, your busy lifestyle makes this more complicated.

You’ll want to figure out ways to involve your daughters in your after-work routine. Can they help you with chores? Can they entertain you with their stories while you do the dishes or cook in the kitchen?

The key is to spend more time with both Shelley and Jessie, so they don’t feel left out.

You can set aside some weekends for special mother-daughter activities. However, your weekday routine should also include them.

Q: I can definitely try to include them more in my after-work routine. However, I’m really worried about my oldest daughter, Shelley. She seems to hate Jessie and has detested her from the moment we brought her home from the hospital.

I sometimes wonder if Shelley is just starting fights with Jessie out of hate.

She says awful things to her and wishes she was never born. She calls her terrible names, breaks her toys, and even messes up her homework.

I’ve tried to make my daughters care about each other, but it’s hard. What can I do to help Shelley?

A: It sounds like Shelley has taken sibling rivalry to another level and is actually bullying her younger sister. This does occur in some families, and the older sibling tends to control the situation.

First, try to step back and closely evaluate both Shelley and Jessie. Did the hatred really start the minute you brought Jessie home? Or, did it start after Shelley felt you weren’t paying attention to her because of the new baby?

Older siblings can feel left out while their parents shower the newborn with love and care. They may be used to being the only center of attention, so the arrival of siblings changes everything.

It’s important that Shelley feel that you love her just as much as you love Jessie.

Also, if Shelley is bullying Jessie, examine the circumstances. Is the abuse physical or just name-calling and emotional? Shelley may benefit from therapy to help her overcome her feelings of jealousy.

In addition, consider how you react to Shelley’s behavior around Jessie. Do you tell her to stop and do nothing beyond words? If you want to stop the sibling rivalry, it’s important to be an active parent.

Q: I’m at a loss of what to do with Shelley. She seems to start most of the fights, and I use more than words to stop her. I take away her computer and TV privileges. I take away the sweet snacks she loves.

However, this doesn’t seem to faze her, and she just keeps fighting with Jessie.

What else can I do to stop their arguments?

A: It’s good that you’re doing more than empty threats. By taking away her privileges, you’re showing her that there are consequences to her actions.

You may need to try an additional step to get through Shelley. Instead of simply punishing her or yelling at her, sit down with her after you calm down and talk. Have a real heart-to-heart conversation with Shelley alone.

Discuss how her behavior disrupts the entire family. Ask her why she is fighting with her sister. You may learn something new about their relationship and find a different way to address the issues.

Shelley needs the chance to voice her concerns and share why she misbehaves.

Again, therapy may be a good option for her so she can share her feelings in a safe setting. She may discuss things with a therapist that she isn’t comfortable talking about with you.

You may also want to consider family therapy in addition to individual therapy for Shelley.

It’s possible certain dynamics in your family are creating a chaotic home atmosphere that breeds arguments among your daughters. Do you fight with your husband all of the time over minor issues? Shelley may be copying you and your husband in her interactions with Jessie.

Counseling can help you find the path to a more peaceful household.

Q: I will definitely consider therapy for Shelley and maybe the whole family, if it will help with this problem. Meanwhile, can I do something to help my daughters bond and build a stronger relationship?

I always dreamed of my two girls getting along and becoming best friends. I’m disappointed and feel like a failure as a mother because they seem to hate each other. Shelley may start most of the fights, but Jessie isn’t an innocent angel either. What can I do to make them see that they should care about each other?

A: You can do several things at home to help your daughters bond.

First, pay close attention to their interactions. You may even want to take notes. Do your daughters ever get along? Take note of the time of day and activities that make them more peaceful and more rowdy.

Once you’ve analyzed their interactions, you can figure out what tends to trigger their fights and arguments. Then, you can devise some strategies to combat their fights.

Do they always fight right before dinner, and could this be caused by low-sugar levels and hunger pangs? Do they always fight before going to a concert or other family outing because they don’t want to participate?

You have to understand that your daughters are unique individuals. Despite the fact that they share DNA, they’re still special in different ways.

Q: I’m wondering what type of strategies I can use. I would love a clear plan that makes it easier to handle them. What should I be doing at home each day and night to help them get along better?

A: First, sit down with both of your daughters and have a serious discussion. At 10 and 8, they’re old enough to understand that their behavior isn’t just hurting them. You have to explain that it’s also hurting you and your husband.

Although you should also talk to them individually, it’s important to have a conversation with both of them present. This way they’ll know that they’re both responsible for the issues.

Second, make it clear that you love both of them equally. You can’t favor one daughter over the other because they’ll notice. This breeds jealousy and hate, so you truly have to treat them the same.

One of the best ways to stop jealousy is to avoid comparing them – ever.

You also don’t want to take sides while they argue. Make it your goal to calm both of them down and not choose one over the other.

Q: How can I help them communicate better? I sometimes think Shelley just takes over all the situations and doesn’t let her sister have a voice.

A: You may need to intervene and show Shelley that she needs to give Jessie the chance to talk.

For example, if Shelley decides she wants to play with Jessie’s toys, she shouldn’t be allowed to just grab them and walk away. Instead, you should stop her and calmly ask her to get Jessie’s permission first. This will show Shelley the correct way to communicate.

It’s crucial that you stay calm while this is happening.

If you start to yell at Shelley because she took the toys, it will destroy the chance to build a better relationship with Jessie. She needs to see that there’s a calm, peaceful way to talk to her sister.

By yelling at her, Shelley will retaliate by yelling back and won’t be able to stay calm.

Also, use positive reinforcement. If you see her playing happily with Jessie, praise her. You should also praise Jessie, so she doesn’t feel left out. Show your daughters that you want them to be happy and calm instead of arguing all the time.

Another idea you may want to try is the bickering table.

The bickering table can be any table in your house, but it would be preferable if it was small. You set two chairs around it. Then, you let your daughters bicker, but only at that table and only at a specific time at night for 20 or 30 minutes.

Many children have pent up tension and stress from school and other issues.

The bickering table lets them get out the frustration in a safe space. Ensure that both daughters get a chance to talk. Monitor their interactions, so they don’t get out of control.

The table can be a good way to reduce the total number of arguments between your daughters. Eventually, your daughters may get tired of the bickering table and won’t be willing to use it. Nevertheless, insist they keep using it for at least a week or longer because it will teach them that bickering isn’t the only way to settle their issues.

Another tip is to give them an incentive to avoid the table by telling them they don’t have to use it at night if they behave during the day.

Q: I can stay calm and use a normal voice. However, I’m wondering what can I do to help Shelley and Jessie spend more time together?

They’re close in age but don’t really like to spend time together. Each one has her own room and likes different things. I sometimes think they’re like strangers who meet in the hallway to throw toys and yell at each other. They don’t even like eating dinner together.

How can I encourage some togetherness?

A: The key is to teach them to respect each other and respect the private spaces. Once they do that, it will be easier to connect with each other in other areas, too.

You can help by creating a chart with family rules. This chart will clearly outline what you expect from your daughters. It can show them the consequences for bad behavior and rewards for good behavior.

If they work together and get along, reward them. The rewards can vary from trips to the museum to new toys. You can decide how often they should receive them. The pleasant rewards will encourage more of this type of behavior.

Sibling rivalry takes time to overcome in all families. However, recognizing that an issue exists is the first step, and the desire to change is the second step. You’ve already taken these two important steps forward. Good luck in your journey ahead as you continue down the path to more peace and tranquility in your home!