Encourage Sibling Bonding
Can’t find time to read all of those parenting books and magazines? Don’t have a lot of mommy friends to bounce ideas off of? Kids go crazy every time you get on the phone to ask a friend their advice? No problem; I’ll do the work for you!
In this series, I bring you kid-tested tips and parenting solutions for a specific parenting challenge “from the mouths of moms.” We’ve already shared lots of tips for dealing with picky eaters, getting kids to sleep better, ensuring stress-free play dates, cooking with kids, and potty training success. Now here are direct quotes from a diverse group of mom bloggers (with kids of all ages and tons of ideas) to encourage sibling bonding. Yep – meet your new mommy friends!
Alright, Mamas, how do you prevent sibling rivalry and encourage sibling bonding?
1. Teach Respect
“From my own sibling experiences as a twin and younger sister, I would say as a parent (and my mother would agree) foster respect as a parenting goal and that will feed into sibling relationships.” Marnie from Carrots Are Orange
2. Encourage Empathy and Understanding
“Having a sibling is also a perfect way to teach empathy and understanding. There are opportunities almost every day to show my kids the importance of being flexible…you know when they have to leave the playground because their sister has dance class.” Jennifer from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
3. Model Positive Sibling Relationships
“My husband and I are both lucky that we have great relationships with our siblings and still see them on a regular basis. I think showing our children what great friends we are, even now as adults is helpful in promoting positive family relationships.” Deborah from Learn with Play
4. Don’t Leave Anyone Out
“If I see two of the kids playing happily together, I make a point to check on the third to see if this would be a good time to spend time alone with him or her.” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
5. Take Turns with Dad
“Bedtime for us is quality time, at the moment we’re taking turns so one night my husband spends quality time with J whilst I spend it with T and then we swap. They know the pattern and it’s obvious when it goes wrong for what ever reason as the following day we have problems.” Cerys from Rainy Day Mum
6. Really Listen
“[I try to] always listen and let them explain and taking their feelings and argument seriously, too.” Maggy from Red Ted Art
7. Find Common Ground
“With a boy who loves trains and a girl who is obsessed with Barbies, it can be hard for them to find common ground and agree on play activities. So I try to pay attention to what activities and toys they do enjoy playing together (like playing house, reading books, or doing puzzles and games) and encourage those activities whenever I can.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
8. Create a Sibling Book
“We created a special sibling book to help build their relationship. It also helps them both to understand the types of activities that they can do together.” Kim from The Educator’s Spin on It (Kim has more great tips for sibling fun here!)
9. Let Them Fight (And Make Up)
“Let your children work out their own battles. I learned a lot about solving my own problems and how to communicate through my sibling rivalries (to this day!!!).” Marnie from Carrots Are Orange
10. Don’t Let Objects Take Priority
“[I] don’t let [my] children prioritize objects over siblings. My kids know that if they fight over something – be it a toy, movie, or computer game – they will lose the privilege of using that particular object.” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles (Read MaryAnne’s other awesome tips for raising kids who get along.)
11. Honor Their Individuality
“I have 2 daughters, 8 & 6 years old, so I have always been concerned about sibling rivalry. I have been amazed at all the little differences between my girls. My approach has to be to honor them as individuals, respect their different needs and desires.” Jennifer from Kitchen Counter Chronicles
12. Tune into Interests
“The most important thing I have learned with a teenager and twin toddlers is to tune in to what their likes, dislikes and differences are and try to recognize a little of each with each child most days.” Jodie from Mummy Musings and Mayhem
13. Go on a Date
“DH and I take turns doing special outings with only one or two children – and as they get older we plan to have more parent-child dates.” MaryAnne from Mama Smiles
14. Check Yourself
“I only have 2 kids. But when they are ‘really fighting,’ I try and look at us the parents and see how we have been with them lately. Quite often with mine it is about jealousy about OUR time. So if my son is playing up more, I try and give him extra quality time with me or Daddy or make a fuss of him.” Maggy from Red Ted Art
15. Encourage Communication
“We have a routine at dinner time of asking each other about our favorite and least favorite parts of our day. We get to learn more about one another and even settle some differences (usually related to the least favorite parts of the day). The kids love it and always remind me if we forget.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
16. Sit Back and Relax
“On the days when everyone wants the most attention all at once….I just sit on the lounge and offer cuddles and songs….even the teen joins in!” Jodie from Mummy Musings and Mayhem
17. Promote Family
“I try to talk to my kids often about how we will always have and love one another because we are family. And that even when we get mad at one another or fight, we still love one another.” Krissy from B-Inspired Mama
Do your kids get along? How do you encourage sibling bonding? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below!
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