Arguments between siblings is standard behavior in most families. Though a common occurrence, it can drive parents up a wall. You know part of the big job of being a parent is guiding your children to learn how to work through conflict, find solutions to problems and cooperate with others. Fortunately, there are things parents can do when siblings squabble. Here are some ways you can help your children get along more harmoniously.
Here are 6 Things Parents Can Do When Siblings Squabble:
- Special time: Be proactive! Ensure children each have their own one on one time with parents. This special time is time for individual children to feel individually connected with their caring adults without having to share. When children have a secure attachment with parents, there is less likely to be rivalry among siblings.
- Special spaces: While learning to share is a valuable skill, it’s equally important that children have a sense of personal space that is all to themselves. If it’s not possible for children to have their own rooms, they might have their own beds, their own stuffed animals and their own special blankets. These personal items anchor a child’s special space they can know is all their own if they need to take a break from others.
- Bring out the BIG T-Shirt: This is a fun way to get siblings to playfully work together. Put a giant men’s T-shirt on both siblings. They each get one sleeve and they have to keep it on for a designated time. This will result in lots of giggles along with a chance to cooperate.
- Be a Model: Your children are watching and learning from you! When you demonstrate respect and seek solution during a disagreement with someone, your children will learn and adopt those conflict-resolution skills themselves.
- Be a Team: Your family is like a team! And like any good basketball, baseball or soccer team, everyone on the family team needs to work together to loving home and when there are disagreements the team has to work together to find a solution.
- Puzzling Together: When they squabble, pull out a jigsaw puzzle and tell them to work together to put it together. They’ll forget what they were fussing about in no time and they’ll get practice cooperating to meet an end goal.
The first step is to have a plan in advance that sets up your children for success. Having interventions on hand to diffuse fighting and redirect kids toward cooperation is key. Talk with your children about being a team on a regular basis when they are in happy moods so you can remind them when things start to heat up.