The green-eyed monster can rear its ugly head when you least expect it -- even between tight little preschooler friends. When issues arise and little ones need help, wade into the fracas to deal with jealousy problems between friends. With a level head and a cool approach, you can calm down the simmering emotions and help everyone chill and be friends once again.
Talk to your preschooler about the way she’s feeling when you get a drift of jealous feelings going on. Ask questions to understand how and why she’s feeling jealous of her friend. For example, perhaps you will find out that your youngster’s friend has a new swing set and your little one wants one, too.
Validate those unpleasant feelings your little one is feeling so she feels understood. Understanding and validating are the keys to helping someone work through negative feelings. For example, you might say, “Oh, I see. Valerie’s family just bought a new swing set and you wish we had one, too. What would be your favorite part of a new swing set?”
Concentrate on providing positive attention and affirming love for your little one. It might be on the tip of your tongue to scold her about being happy with what she has and not to compare herself to others. Stop yourself, though, because these knee-jerk reactions aren’t beneficial and they won’t resolve the feelings of jealousy. Instead of encouraging positive behavior, scolding might incite her to feel even more negative feelings, such as aggression and anger, toward her friend. Go outside and have some fun in your own backyard, tossing a ball to the dog, playing tag or jumping rope together. Why would a little girl need a new swing set when she has a rockin’ mommy who loves to play and tear it up in the backyard?
Direct your little one to play with a different friend or two until the feelings of jealousy blow over. With efforts on your part to spend quality time with your youngster to ensure she feels loved and valued, the negative feelings of jealousy should pass relatively quickly and she’ll be back to her sunny and happy self once again.