Updated: Jun 16
Today is Friday 10th of April and its national siblings’ day.
Due to our current situation your siblings might be spending a lot more time together and this could lead to more arguing and teasing.
It could also be worse due to your children's anxieties; they may be unsure of what is happening around them at this present moment.
Lots of their challenging behaviours can be led by these anxieties and they might be fighting for your attention.
Sibling rivalry is where your children are learning key skills for life and growing up, the skills of how to compromise and negotiate.
There is no easy answer with sibling rivalry but if you keep in mind it is natural and unavoidable you may approach it differently.
Understanding what your children are really arguing over can help you respond more appropriately and reduce the conflict.
It’s all about stepping back and assessing the situation.
Are your little ones fighting for your attention?
· Asking who you love best or saying you love him/her more?
· Timing disruptive behaviour when you are with the other child?
If you answered yes
· Treat each child uniquely. Say you love them for who they are.
· Look for triggers and work on these times, dinnertime, bedtimes, times when you are busy changing another child.
Are your little ones fighting over property?
· Grabbing siblings’ toys or possessions?
· Having physical fights and ruining each other’s games?
If you answered yes
· Give them some personal space- let them have some sacred toys they don’t have to share.
· Encourage turn taking games, or teamwork games, cooking together, set challenges to do together (building a fort is a good one.)
· Have clear simple house rules, so children know what is expected of them.
Download my free house rules sheet here. click the button above the testimonials.
Tips for creating some simple house rules.
Children need limits to know what is expected of them.
They are more likely to follow these rules when they are: • fair,
• easy to follow,
• not too many of them,
• positively stated, and you can back them up.
It is best to only have four or five basic house rules which you can consistently backup. (add to them as your children get older).
Hold a family meeting and write them together.
Rules should tell children what to do rather than what not to do such as
“we use kind hands, instead of saying do not hit”
Demonstrate the rules so you help your child understand them. Introduce them through play.
The rules will mean nothing if they are not enforced.
When children follow the rules, give them plenty of praise and encouragement, particularly in the first few weeks.
Thumbs up, smiles, hugs and show them how pleased you are.
Examples of simple house rules:
We "take turns" with our toys.
We use kind hands.
We do our colouring on paper.
Pick rules that are unique to your home challenges.
It may help some children if you add a visual picture.
Go back to the rules frequently as children need to review new information before they will understand it.
Children who learn to respond to reasonable and fair house rules are often more
co-operative and get on better with others.
10 tips to help them achieve this
1 Pause and take some deep breaths when your children are arguing or fighting. If you step in straight away- they won’t learn to build their own problem-solving skills.
2 Try not to offer advice and tell them what to do.” You need to do this and that”. Try and facilitate rather than control the situation. If you take control, they can feel like you are taking sides.
3 Acknowledge their feelings. Put their feelings into words.
“You are angry your brother is playing with your cars”
“I can see you are both angry with each other”.
Then describe what you see.
If he says, “I hate my sister I wish she wasn’t here”,
don’t say “you don’t mean that”.
In the heat of the moment he probably does. It is perfectly normal to feel these emotions, he just needs help with how to deal with them.
4 Try the Sibling harmony dilemma.
“I would like to talk to you about your little problem when you argue about your toys and can’t play together very well.”
“Do you want to tell me how you feel about this situation that is making us both unhappy?”
After they have shared.
You share how you feel.
This is great for them to practise problem solving skills and helps them to take some control of the situation.
5 Positively praise them when they are getting along or when they solve their own conflicts. “great problem-solving skills, I am very happy, well done. “
6 One to one time-This one can be tricky to do but try to make each child feel special and important. Spend one-on-one time with each child every day.
7 Play fighting- Have a rule
“if it’s not fun for both, it’s got to stop”
If its normal bickering, stop and see if they can work it out. If they do, give them attention for working as a team.
8 Be fair and avoid favouritism, sometimes we can do this with the youngest child and our older child feels as if he is pushed out. When children argue focus on the solution not on the details. Your children will be shouting “he did this” and “she did that”. Blame is not helpful.
They need help to come up with solutions and work out how to get along.
9 and 10 Set a good example (it has two numbers as its most important, the biggest tip of all)
You are the role models to teach your children how to negotiate, compromise and see things from another’s perspective. How you communicate with your partner, family and friends is the perfect time to demonstrate the art of compromise and let your children see your negotiation skills.
Children learn what to do from watching you.
If you want more support on your children’s behaviours and tips and tricks, then check out my 4-week "Toddlers Throwing Wobblers" workshop and hear all about positive techniques to help you build a unique toolbox to help your children deal with their struggles.
Learn their possible triggers and yours.
Learn about different parenting styles and how this may impact on how you respond.
Develop your child's skills on how to communicate and get on with others, how to manage their feelings, how to be independent and how to solve problems.
Click here for dates. BOOK EARLY AS ONLY 10 SPACES AVAILABLE PER COURSE