How can you achieve sibling harmony this Summer holidays?
This is a toughie, my two boys love each other to pieces but as much as they love each other, they also love to wind each other up. What starts as an innocent joke, or “play fight” soon ends up with one or both of them in tears.
It made me think about sibling harmony and how to get through this long summer without the boys constantly at each other. It’s gonna be a long six weeks but here are my top tips to help get you though:-
Appreciate each other This is something I make them do quite regularly, and it really helps. Rather than them always moaning about what annoys them about each other, I encourage them to share three things they like/love or appreciate in the other. It usually starts with a grimace but then there’s a smile followed by a giggle and before you know it the compliments are flowing. Makes them realise how lucky they are to have each other. You can try this one with the husband too :-)
Working together : cooperation not competition – Deciding on a common goal, something they want to do together so they are cooperating and not competing works well to cut the arguments. For example my two love making a den. Armed with sheets, rugs, duvets, cushions and whatever else they can lay their hands on, they can spend literally hours turning their bedroom, the sitting room or a corner of the garden into some amazing super camp in a faraway world. Yes, it’s messy but if it’s going to keep them quiet, having fun and give you a couple of hours peace it’s got to be worth it!
Be a mediator not a referee – this is something I learned from my mum, it worked with me and my three brothers. If there’s a conflict or upset, rather than dictating the solution and sorting the problem or argument out for them, help your children to work out the best way forward themselves. I always try to remember to put it into practice but sometimes harder than it sounds. Getting them to talk through how they think they could have done things differently is usually a good starting point.
Have one on one time with each child – children are all about getting our attention, usually the worse behaved get the most, so sometimes without realising it we are unconsciously encouraging bad behaviour. I know how hard it is to put aside one on one time with each child, but do what you can and you will reap the rewards. Children always like everything to be fair as well, so make sure you give each child the exactly the same length of time. Our TimeTokens timer doubles up as the “one on one” timer!
Always have a Plan B – If nothing is working and all hell is breaking loose, diversion/change of scene is a good strategy. My plan B, especially when it's so hot, is go have an ice cream!
Have a great summer everyone