Parents Learning Together
Sibling relationships can be warm and caring, but they can also be unique and challenging. Because they are an important source of support and connection here are some strategies for supporting sibling play and communication and developing strong bonds:
- Set Ground Rules – setting up clear schedules and family expectations can help prevent conflicts from starting
- Provide Positive Reinforcement – it’s more effective for us to avoid focusing on behaviors we don’t want to see and instead focus on and reinforce the behaviors we do want to see. Let them know when they are doing it right
- Clear up Roles & Responsibilities – define roles clearly and have open conversations about what is expected. Set age-appropriate boundaries and give age-appropriate tasks.
- Encourage Connection – taking turns, sharing, and problem solving are all skills that can be learned at home. Set them up with activities that encourage them to work together, have one child teach the other child a new skill and praise their effort. Do things together as a family, when you can, to deepen family ties. Get out in nature. Laugh and play together.
When dealing with sibling conflict…
- Keep your goal in mind – problem solve
- Look after your own needs – self care
- Have positive expectations – focus on the behaviors you want to see
- Avoid labelling or comparing children – we are all unique and special
Seeing each child as a unique individual, avoiding labelling, or comparing your children, having realistic expectations, and keeping your goals of problem solving in mind can help foster a more harmonious home environment.