If you are having a difficult time find ways to help siblings get along, this article is for you!
From kids that rarely see each other to kids that are always together, even sharing a room, you want them to have peace with one another.
It can be hard to help siblings get along all of the time, but I’m sure that you are hopeful that your kids will play happily (for most of the day!) If you find that your older child is taking toys from the younger one, or your younger child is not helping the older one, it can cause some major issues in the household.
HERE ARE 21 THINGS TO HELP SIBLINGS GET ALONG:
- Involve them in things together. Let the older child help with bath time, reading books or brushing teeth. Talk to your child about how great it is that they are begin so gentle and caring for their younger sibling. Tell them that you love how they are friends. Sometimes you just have to give them the expectation for them to reach for it.
- It is better to be positive. “Consequences may cause bitterness towards sibling and be counterproductive to what you are trying to achieve.” ~ Kristy Gladish
- Try not to set up situations that allow arguing to happen. If your older child is building with Legos, let him build at a high table or in a room with a shut door. The temptation to knock it down will be gone.
- If they argue over a THING (toy, book, outfit), that THING goes away. I put it on the top of our refrigerator and say “I will not let a thing come in between you two. If you fight over it, it is mine.”
- Talk to your kids about being jealous. Tell them that while this is a normal feeling, it is not OK to act on it. Give examples of what is OK and not OK in many situations. Example: When I am upset, it is OK for me to go to my room and read a book until I am calm. It is NOT OK for me to push someone.
- Talk to your child when they are calm. Talk about how much their brother or sister loves them. Point out the times that you see them doing nice things for each other and reward it, with praise or even something like “I love how you are being so nice! Maybe a trip to the park is in order?”
- Every day, make them tell one another 3 things that they like about that person. I have our kids say 3 things about each sibling. Their faces just light up when they hear something like “I like how you make funny voices when you read.” (It is OK to help them).
- Relate it to yourself. I talk to the kids about myself as a child a lot. “I remember when I was your age and Uncle Tim told me that I couldn’t play with him. I was so mad at him that I tattled right away.” Then take the time to talk about what worked. “The next time that he did this, I …”
- Have each child to go to their own room for a little break. Within 5 minutes, they are begging me to play with each other. It works every time. I usually say “Ok, but if I hear you arguing again, I am going to have to separate you.”
- Try distraction with the younger child. Teach the older child to offer the younger one something else- an alternative. Usually, this will solve the issue of “I want what she has.”
- Spend quality time with each child, alone. When kids act up, most of the time a little one-on-one and some real conversations will solve the issue. Try it. It really works.
- Empathize with your kids. If one comes to you saying that “Jane took my toy from my room.” say “Oh, really? That probably bothered you because it was in your room and you wanted to save it for later.” Most of the time, just hearing someone agree with them is all that they need to calm down and handle it properly.
- Read books that focus on being loving and kind to each other. ~Beth Glison
- Talk about how important being a “big sister” or “little brother” really is… like they were meant to be friends.
- Find toys that are off-limits to the other siblings. Each of our kids have a few special toys that is their toy ONLY. They keep them in their closet or on a shelf, and only that child can play with the toy. (Usually these are toys that they have purchased with their own money.)
- Be Consistent! I can’t stress this enough! If they get away with pushing today, but you try to tell them not to push tomorrow… guess what they will do? Push! Don’t let them do anything that you don’t expect them to do again. Start on what you wish to go by. Time outs are a good solution for this (a minuter per year of age)
- Be sure to give each child time to play along. Quiet time is perfect for this. Let each child go to their room for a nap or time to themselves. Being together 24/7 is hard, especially for young children, when they need a break.
- Have them do things that take team-work, like a puzzle or game.
- Give them obstacles to complete together: “You have to hold hands and try to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (with a spoon, not a knife) using your OTHER hands, without letting go of the hand that you are holding.”
- Let them play a game where they are on a team together, against you. Give them the mentality of “Me and you against the world!”
- Give them chances to bond. Sleepovers in each other’s rooms, walkie-talkies that only they can use, going to grandma’s house without you. These are all opportunities for them to grow closer to one another.
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