As parents, we want what’s best for our children. Sometimes a fight between siblings can be mind boggling for you and can cause some stressful moments. I shared a personal story about a time I lost control of my emotions and raised my voice at my oldest son in this post titled 5 Techniques To Avoid Yelling After I Saw Fear In My Child’s Eyes.
After going through this tough time, I tried to find a better way to deal with the fights instead of fighting with them as well. Even though sometimes it seems like a dead end street. Below I share five tips to help your children play nice. This can also be applied if you are a daycare facility or a teacher.
1. Give Praise and Grace
When you see your children play nice and are having fun with each other, make sure to let them know how happy you are that they are playing together without fighting. Sharing your happiness with them will allow them to be happy too since they don’t enjoy seeing you upset either.
They also enjoy getting praised for doing a great job at anything, whether it’s playing nice, cleaning up or anything they can do on their own. Always try to show positive reinforcement to make them feel great about themselves. Something to say might be, “Awesome, thank you for playing nice with your brother/sister, mommy appreciates this very much!”
2. Let Them Choose
In order for our kids to learn about responsibility and behaving correctly, you have to give them options. Sometimes our own options won’t always work, so let them choose. I’ve had to tell them, “do you want to play or do you want to go to your room and be by yourself?”
Usually, this let’s them know that they will always have a choice and one is better than the other. Either to continue playing nice or be sent to his room without the option of playing. This usually allows them to think about what the consequences are for not playing nice.
3. Show Them The Way
As soon as I see that they are going to start a mini battle in the room, I immediately remind them that they need to be friendly. If your child wants to use a toy that your other child has, remind them about manners, please and thank you.
I usually ask my oldest, “what do you say if you want something instead of taking it away?” He usually responds and asks his brother, “may I borrow the toy?” My youngest then responds by handing the toy to his brother without a fight. Phew! If this doesn’t work, then show him that his brother is already playing with it and that there are other toys to play with.
4. Don’t Play The Blame Game
When they hurt each other or make each other cry, I let the one that caused the injury know that his brother is feeling sad. Try not to say, “look what you did to your brother” but instead say something like, “your brother is hurt and feeling sad because he was using that toy you just took from him.”
This let’s them see that their action causes sadness to their sibling. Usually, they don’t like that their sibling is feeling sad and will make them change their attitude.
5. Let Them Grow
Sometimes we want to intervene in our children’s battles and not let them figure out their own conflict resolution strategies. As parents we don’t want them to hurt each other but if we don’t let them resolve their own issues, we will not allow them to grow and develop problem solving skills. So as long as they aren’t hurting each other, then allow them time to talk among themselves and stay on the sidelines to intervene if necessary.
I know that as parents we don’t have all the answers to every problem that our children have, but if there is one tip I would recommend from the five tips above, is to let your children resolve their own problems.
Yes, It will be difficult to not get in between them since you don’t want them to argue, fight or hit each other but remember that sometimes we learn the hard way. Even though we don’t want them to go through a trial and error phase, we need to give them options and the liberty to choose.
I am there with you as I try to use these tips myself as I don’t like to see my boys fight for the most insignificant thing. Shoot, this might even help us as adults to resolve our own problems with others.
P.S. Which of the above tips have you used before with your children or others? Did the problem get resolved or get worse? What other tips do you have for a parent with children that constantly fight with each other? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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