4 Steps to Help Siblings Get Along
Summer Siblings – Stop the Fights Before They Happen
By Julie Freedman Smith and Gail Bell
Too much togetherness is rarely a good thing, so set your kids up for success with realistic expectations for the summer. Follow these steps to build a plan that works for your family.
1. Provide some structure.
Going from scheduled school-time to no schedule can be a real challenge for many children. Without a schedule, they feel no sense of control and will therefore fight for control over anything. As soon as there is some predictability for the day, the need to control everything seems to decrease. It can be as simple as reviewing when meals will happen, along with quiet time, errands that need to be run, etc.
2. Expect that your kids will need a break from each other.
Rather than waiting for a fight to break up their together-time, help them to plan when they will spend time apart. At the very least, teach them how to ask for it,
“I need some time on my own,” rather than, “I hate you! Get out of my face!”
3. Help them to figure out sharing.
If there is one toy/technology device/basketball hoop – how do they use it together? Kids (4 and up) are great at coming up with solutions to these kind of problems so make a time to problem-solve as a family and ask them to help figure it out. Some solutions:
Odd days Jack chooses the game, even days Mary chooses the game
Scheduling individual time on the device/toy
4. Set clear boundaries about what can and cannot be done, along with when and for how long.
Provide limits and consequences ahead of time so that things feel fair.
– Technology time
– Time when they need to be outside
– Time when you can play with them vs. Independent play time
– Run with scissors
– Use permanent markers (you get the picture)
Possible script: “When you show me that you can manage this, you are choosing to do it again tomorrow. When you show me that you are having trouble, we’ll take a day off and then try again the next day.”
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