Even with the joy and closeness of family during the stay at home order, we all have moments when being cooped up takes its toll – especially for siblings. Even if our kids are cooperative and getting along most of the time, what sticks out to us is sometimes the fighting, the meanness, the tears, the stress.
It’s even harder right now because adults are more stressed, and our kids pick up on that. It is harder to give each other grace.
Sibling conflict is not new to stay-at-home order times. Even before school closures there were probably moments of sibling conflict in your family. Sibling conflict is a normal and even healthy part family life. As parents we can coach our children through it in ways that teach crucial life skills such as:
- How to listen
- How to stand up for yourself
- When to walk away
- How to ask for and receive repair (apologies)
The goal is not to be conflict free, but to have the tools to deal with it respectfully as it arises.
Where to begin? Here are some ideas about how to help your children manage their relationships with each other by helping them grow their skills. You can be the coach, not the referee, and your children can reap the many benefits of having siblings.
You can use Family Meetings to solve problems. Learn more about Family Meetings here.
Sibling Fights: Putting Kids in the Same Boat, Positive Discipline
Siblings: Get them in the ring, Sproutable – Conflict resolution for 5-and-unders.
Bugs and Wishes, Sarina Natkin – a useful tool in the classroom and how to use at home.
Siblings without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too, book by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish
The Candle Story
The Candle Story can be used to teach older siblings that parents have enough love to go around when a new baby comes, which can also be helpful in other sibling circumstances.
The Candle Story , video from Sproutable
Wheel of Choice
Help your kids create a ‘Wheel of Choice’ with problem solving options to use when they have conflict.
The Wheel of Choice, Positive Discipline