Do your little ones get along? How to encourage sibling harmony.
Author: Amanda Houle, Parenting Strategist
| Sibling harmony is manageable with the right tools
Sibling harmony can be really tough to manage for many families. With the right mindset, tools, and strategies to set your children up for success, you can succeed. Modeling for them, teaching children kindness, and the importance of getting along with your sibling is the recipe for a harmonious home with less fighting.
On a daily basis, sibling harmony can make or break a parent’s sanity. Parents constantly ask how can I make it so they get along? First of all, it’s important to note that you have to let them learn how to work through their problems on their own without stepping in every single time! This approach teaches children to be independent, learn how to use their voice to advocate for themselves, and communicate more effectively their feelings. I suggest having a conversation with your children about the importance of having a close relationship with their siblings as they will be the only ones around to share childhood memories with especially when their parents are no longer around.
Adopting the mindset that you can’t fix or make children get along, the easier it is. You can instill boundaries, expectations, and house rules. For example, talking disrespectfully or hitting is not an option. Model for children to use their words to communicate how they feel in replace of inappropriate behavior. “ I am upset that you won’t share right now.”
You are not alone when it comes to expecting sibling harmony. I’m here to tell you it is possible! Do you find yourself always reprimanding your youngest or is it your oldest for instigating fights? Are you in the same room often when they are fighting? Children often will retaliate if their sibling says or does something they do not like and often hear from parents that they don’t know exactly what happened as they weren’t there. It is important to learn the full story and hear from each child.
Tips/Tricks to encourage Sibling Harmony: (Age appropriate)
- Speak with each child to learn their version of the story (if you don’t it isn’t a teaching moment as next time 1 child could feel targeted and get mad at their sibling)
- NO taking sides so they each validated
- Have each child speak 1 thing that they feel they did wrong to take ownership for their actions
- Ask your children what they could try and do better next time (ex; tell my brother I don’t like it when he does x or y.
- Give reminders when they are playing nicely
- Be specific when it comes to setting rules in stating exactly what it is you DO want not want you don’t want
- Give an opportunity for each child to choose what they want to do so they each get time to do something they enjoy (only if this is an option)
- Let your children fight their own battles
Author: Amanda Houle, Parenting Strategist, Parenting With A Punch
Amanda hails from Brooklyn, NY back to the Greater Boston area. She has a Dual Masters degree in Special and General Elementary Education with a specialization in Early Childhood and an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Her niche is working with families with children ages 2-6 years old. Amanda gets so much joy from teaching families how to learn to enjoy their parenting journey. Amanda loves yoga, coffee, and is training for her first half-marathon!