Sibling love has been at an all time high around here. What a wonderful thing sibling love is! Don’t get me wrong, we still have our share of battles. More and more though my “best” at dinner is a compliment to the respect and kindness M and M are showing each other.
As with most kid moments it’s hard to really tell if it’s just their nature or if Hubs and I are doing an awesome job of guiding them to a life of friendship. I like to think it’s the second. (It’s important for parents to pat themselves on the back once in a while. ;))
Just in case it is what we are doing that is making the difference, I thought I would share a few sibling love tips.
Simple Signs of Sibling Love
1. If one M (or the other) falls, trips or drops something it is their sibling who is first on the scene. Before I can even get there M (or M) is asking “You okay?”
2. For the past two weeks in particular M and M have been offering up their “lasts” without being asked or prompted. “Little M would you like my last piece of gum?” “You dropped your grape? Here Big M, have this one.”
3. They are using their words, and LISTENING! This is my favorite one. It’s happened more than once but specifically we ended up with 3 juice boxes. 2 blue and 1 pink. Big M doesn’t like the pink so when Little M suggested “Let’s have blue today and share pink tomorrow.” Big M responded with “I don’t like pink.” I walked away, because sometimes it’s easier to stay out of it if I move out of ear shot. When I came back they glowed with pride. “We are going to share blue today and then I’ll pink and he’ll have blue tomorrow.” (Can you see the tears of joy forming?)
Sibling Love Tips
1. Compliment the behavior you love. Since I am such a firm believer in positive parenting, I’m always on the look out for places to point out favorable behavior. A quick “well that was kind of you” or “you worked it out on your own, you guys are really growing up” will go very far towards encouraging the behavior to happen again.
2. Practice conflict resolution. Read it. Print it. Use it. I promise it will change your home as you know it.
3. Acknowledge everyone’s feelings. And help your little one recognize the feelings of others as well. “Your loud voice is telling me you are angry. Am I right? Is yelling working for you?” Once everyone is calm (#4) reiterate the feelings and ask “How do you think the your sister feels?”
4. Calm down. Hitting, kicking, and screaming are not okay. They are also rarely the heart of the matter. Before talking have everyone calm down (we sit still, take deep breaths or for really upset moments have a time out). When voices and words are calm we hear what everyone has to say about the REAL problem. Once the problem is worked out then we deal with hitting, kicking or screaming. An apology will work or as we say “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help you feel better?”
How do you encourage sibling love?
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