Brothers and sisters. Many of us are familiar with this dynamic when it comes to our own siblings, but it’s a whole different ball game when you are the parent of multiple kids. Suddenly you are the referee of toy disputes, the coach of how to play nicely together, and the judge and jury when no common agreement can be made.
Now, kids are always going to argue with their siblings, but there are a few things that you can do to enable a close bond between your children and minimize the arguments that they have.
Refer to Your Kids as Best Friends
Your words become your children’s inner voice. By telling your kids that they are each other’s best friend, you are laying the ground work for them to treat each other as best friends. They will want to confide in each other, like best friends, and, more importantly, they will protect each other fiercely.
Make Time for Sibling Play
A big part of a healthy sibling relationship is allowing your kids to play together every day. When my girls are playing together, I don’t interfere with them unless someone is actually hurt. If a disagreement arises over a toy, I tell them to try to work it out before they come running to us. Not only does this teach them how to communicate with each other, it also helps their problem-solving skills and teaches them that they need to try to do things for themselves.
When one of them says something mean or accidentally hurts the other, we ask that they give a heart-felt apology. Just saying “sorry” doesn’t really teach your child how to apologize or why it is important. You want to help your kids get in the habit of saying “I’m sorry for ________.” This helps your child recognize their actions that were wrong and take responsibility for them.
Spending time together as a family is also a great way to encourage a strong bond between your children. Doing family game nights, taking walks to the park together and going out on family adventures not only helps build a strong sibling bond, but a strong family bond, too. Going to each other’s sporting events as a family is a great way to spend time together!
Another way to encourage a strong sibling bond is the power of positive talk towards each other. You can start setting the example for your kids by recognizing when someone does a good job on something. For example, you can say “Wow! Jane, you did a great job cleaning your room today. Don’t you think so, Sam?” By phrasing it this way, it shows your kids how to be positive and supportive and also includes both kids in your conversation.
Teaching your kids about respect starts with their siblings. As parents, it is our job to teach our kids to be kind and respectful. Modeling this behavior at home lays the foundation for your kids to be respectful adults.
Showing and explaining respect to your kids means teaching them to respect their sibling’s privacy, belongings and personal space.
By fostering a strong bond between siblings, you are setting them up for a life time friendship built right in to their family!