This blog entry explains 5 tips to maximize the positive moments in sibling relationships.
Helping Siblings Get Along
Siblings are great, aren’t they? When we add another one, or more, child into a family we often imagine that we are giving our children the greatest gift—a friend for life! Unfortunately, the reality of sibling relationships is often a bit more complicated. No matter the ages of your children or the difference in their ages it can take some effort for siblings to find the best ways to get along and play well with each other. It also takes some work on the part of a parent to help siblings learn how to best handle disagreements and conflict. Nevertheless, as their relationship strengthens you may find that siblings really can be each other’s best friend and favorite playmate.
Here are a few tips to help siblings play well together:
Get Outside. Sometimes sibling fights can be prevented by giving them a little more space and opportunity to be physically active. Playing outside has many benefits for children of all ages. If you can bring your children to a park or playground or just take them for a walk around the neighborhood you may find that they have lots of fun together running around and exploring together.
Get Messy. Most children of all different ages love sensory play that allows them to use their hands and make a mess. As a result, all kinds of messy play can help encourage siblings to play together and have fun. The more fun they have together the more likely they are to see each others as friends rather than foes. For some sensory play ideas you can check out this website or follow our Pinterest board for messy and fun ideas to do with your children.
Get Connected. Oftentimes families come together around movies, television, or other connected media. Another option is to help your children get connected to one another through dedicated time away from screens and instead connecting with one another. This time, focused on building sibling bonds, can include cuddling, reading, or simply having conversations with one another. These simple activities can help strengthen sibling relationships and help children recognize how much they care for one another.
Get Out of the Way. With slightly older children especially, sometimes what helps them get along the most is not having a parent or caregiver jump in whenever small disagreements or conflicts occur. Instead, they can learn how to handle the little conflicts of daily life together. As a parent, you can listen to how your children are handling a disagreement and consider whether you are needed or not. If things sound safe and one sibling is not dominating another than they may be the best problem solvers for that particular moment. Check out this great article on how parents can help support children when parent intervention is needed.
These tips are just a start to help you support your children as they learn how to get along and have fun together. For more support on dealing with sibling rivalry check out our article here.
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