Getting your little ones to play nice can often feel like an uphill task, especially when your older child is yet to adjust to the newest addition of the fam-jam.
Are you noticing hair pulling, high-pitched screeching, pushing and snatching?
If your kids are having a hard time with each other, it’s natural that you would want to focus your time and energy towards helping them learn to resolve their differences.
Remember, sibling rivalry is a completely normal part of childhood.
In fact, disagreements can be opportunities for growth and understanding.
And just because siblings fight, that doesn’t mean they can’t be close… right?
So, how do you foster strong sibling bonds?
Greendigo has curated a list of tips that will set the ball rolling on sibling love and togetherness.
- Chat about thoughts, feelings and emotions.
- Help them identify and label their emotions clearly.
- Help them differentiate between feelings and behaviour.
- Give them healthy tips to deal with their feelings, for e.g., taking a deep breath.
- Make them aware about the consequences of their actions and communicate what would happen if they were to break the rules.
- Refrain from favouring one child over the other.
- Get to the source of the disagreement and identify potential triggers.
- Plan activities that can only be done in pairs to promote quality time together.
- Organise activities that help induce oxytocin (a hormone that promotes social bonding), for e.g., playing a sport.
- Don’t interrupt pure, happy moments between them.
- Teach them the importance of family and the need to stick together.
- Place emphasis on cooperation and teamwork over victory.
- Teach healthy, conflict resolution techniques such as equal toy privileges.
- On a bad day, let them indulge in an activity that is a shared favourite such as watching a Disney movie.
- Encourage your older child to be protective of their younger sibling.
- Hero the ‘big brother / sister’ concept.
- Source material that promotes sibling bonds like books, puzzles, stickers or movies.
- Play the ‘what I like about you’ game where each child has to name 5 things that they like about one another.
- Teach them to appreciate and value each other’s differences.
- Create a bedtime ritual where they have to wish each other goodnight.
- Talk about your favourite memories with your own siblings.
Pick and choose from the aforementioned tips based on the kids’ ages, and more importantly, the age difference between them.
For instance, if you’re dealing with a four-year-old and a one-year-old, you might want to go in for tips 10 – 17.
If you’re trying to pacify a six-year-old and nine-year-old, then tips 5 – 9 are ideal.
Try and exercise patience and restraint, when you can.
Because, if you lose your temper, so will they.
And while these tips have proven to be very effective, they are not the magic answer, they are simply guiding factors.
The most sacred bonds develop naturally and in their own time.