Sibling Rivalry At Christmas
Children get more and more excited as we get closer to Christmas. They also get some much needed time off school, or creche, which can mean that you’re looking for things for them to do. While they can entertain themselves for a period of time, it inevitably leads to sibling squabbling, which is no fun for anyone! So, just how do you keep the peace, and encourage siblings to get along?
It can be difficult to stay calm when siblings are fighting on a daily, or hourly basis, but it’s really important. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or frustrated, leave the room, and take a deep breath. Do whatever you do to press the pause button, and manage your own feelings first. You’ll be much more able to deal with the situation when you’re calm and patient. Practise deep breathing – take a deep inhale through your nose and through your upper body, and then a deep exhale through your diaphragm.
Don’t Take Sides
If possible, you should try to distract the squabblers and avoid the disagreement completely. This can diffuse the situation, and stop them from making it a habit. If you can’t distract then you should avoid taking one side over the other. Unless, you know that one side deliberately provoked the other.
If you hear them fighting, you should calmly approach, and ask them to stop and see if the disagreement can’t be settled calmly. Speak to them together, but ask them to speak one at a time. Listen to everyone, and if you do need to implement consequences, don’t focus them on one child. Instead, use a consequence that affects everybody. If they were fighting over a game, take the game away until everyone calms down. They may need some time away from each other, and that’s okay. Give them space so they can calm down.
Manage Your Own Expectations
Younger children can struggle to share their toys. Younger children can struggle to share other people’s toys. In fact, sharing just does not come naturally to toddlers. Toddlers tend to believe that the whole world revolves around them, and that makes sharing particularly difficult. It’s important that you don’t expect too much from your toddler. Distraction is often the best technique with this age group. You can empathise with your toddler, but find them an alternative toy to play with. You can change your expectations for behaviour as your child grows.
When the siblings are playing well together, reading together, or simply getting on, praise them for doing so. Children love to be praised, and they are much more likely to continue behaviour that is recognised. So, if you notice them sitting together, tell them that you appreciate, and how happy you are that they’re being nice to each other.
Your children can build their relationships with each other by having fun experiences. Ask them to take turns in picking activities for everyone to do together. If they are too young to choose an activity, you could simply search Club Hub and find an appropriate club. Find something that they can do together, and encourage them to strengthen their relationships.
As children grow, their sibling relationships change. In the earlier years, they are trying to find their place within the family, but they’re also getting to know their own personalities as well. Unfortunately this can lead to sibling squabbles, but it will pass, and they will have an unconditional love for each other for the rest of their lives.