Different Rules for Different Kids


Different kids Your younger child thrives on a very strict schedule, while his older sibling is good at rolling with the punches.

Nancy Dodson's first child, Ben, was an easy baby. "He would eat anything, sleep anywhere, and let anyone hold him, so we'd just pack him up and go," says the Newberg, Oregon, mom. His little brother, Jonathan, was the opposite: He had a hard time with transitions and always needed to know what was coming next. "For us to live a happy life with him, we had to maintain a strict routine," says Dodson.

Fussy personality types are common. "Some kids need more regularity than others," says Dr. Schonfeld. "They're hungry at the same time every day, they go to bed at the same time, and they fall apart when you mess with any of it."

Different rules When you need to choose between your kids? competing agendas, oil your squeaky wheel first. If that means your easygoing child has to cut short a playdate because his sensitive sib needs to eat lunch at 11:30, don't sweat it: All kids tend to thrive on a routine. But make an effort to compromise whenever possible. If one child's regimen gets in the way, appease the other by saying something like, "We can't go to the movie because it ends too late for Billy's nap, but we'll rent one instead that you and I can watch together."

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