I am one of 4 children, I have an older brother and then a younger sister and a younger brother. We did not always get along. In fact, I can truthfully say that we are friendlier now than we were when we lived under the same roof. I especially recall one time being sat on by my older brother and having him rub half a tomato in my face…hilarious…NOT!
Now that I am a parent myself to 3 little bods, I am aware of how unreasonable it is to expect them to automatically get along. My three are totally different from each other. They have different talents, abilities and passions. They are different genders and the simple fact of being different ages can cause frustration between them. Bringing up siblings is rewarding, but it certainly isn’t easy. Whilst the occasional disagreement is inevitable, no parent wants to see their children at constant loggerheads.
Life is made a lot easier if the siblings enjoy a healthy relationship and promoting a positive bond will naturally rank high on your list of parenting priorities. One of the keys to achieving this is to encourage togetherness whilst also appreciating their individual merits, especially if they are of different ages. There are no set parameters for success, but these tips should go a long way to helping your siblings enjoy a close and healthy relationship.
Whilst it is important to encourage your children to get along, it’s equally crucial that they develop their own personalities. Certain activities are a fantastic way of catering for differing natures.
It is important to discover and nurture each child’s talents and ability. Having something that is special to them, makes them less like rivals and more likely to want to support each other and be proud of each other.
Teaching your children to play musical instruments is a brilliant method of getting them to enjoy doing something together. It also simultaneously allows them to grow as individuals. Moreover, it’s a great way to express their creative side and even offers the parents a chance to get involved. My daughter plays the clarinet and the piano, while my middle boy is keen on the guitar and my youngest, the drums. If music isn’t their thing, then sport is a fantastic alternative. We all spend time watching each other doing our various sports. Dance, football and gymnastics being the top three in our home and no two of mine do the same sport. No matter what activity they participate in, the key to success is making it fun and involving each child in celebrating their siblings successes.
Decorate The Bedroom
A child’s bedroom is his or her own special space and it is crucial for any kid to love theirs. It can be a little more difficult if two children share the same room, but it’s far from impossible and a little imagination can help it become their perfect place for rest and play. When we moved to our home a few years ago, I allowed the children free choice of paint colour, and of theme. My youngest went with a transport motif, the middle child had superheroes and the eldest chose fairies. Since then, my two boys have decided they’d like to share, which has suited us actually as we needed somewhere to store “stuff” while we renovate and alter parts of the house. So my youngest moved in with his brother and his room is basically storage for a few more months.
When two or more children share a room, one of the biggest challenges is getting them to share the space fairly. Encourage this mentality with your interior design decisions. For example, children’s bunk beds that promote a joint experience can really improve the understanding and appreciation of sharing a room harmoniously. My boys sleep in a bunk and often swap which level they are sleeping on. I never know who will be at the top when I go to kiss them goodnight! There is no rivalry for space or toys in the bedroom as we don’t keep playthings in the bedroom. They have a playroom which is extremely helpful in keeping the bedroom neutral ground.
Reward Good Behaviour
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got one child or six, every kid loves being praised. They love it even more when there is a reward involved. This is particularly true when dealing with siblings and rewarding nice deeds towards each other should help promote a healthy relationship. Good behaviour might initially be a little forced as they look to reap rewards. Eventually, though, it will become second nature.
I allocate points to my children for a variety of things including helping each other, doing something nice for another, and playing together without bickering. I also like to set them challenges as a group. Once completed, each child is rewarded for their part in the group effort.
Although you can give them individual rewards, the system itself shouldn’t look to promote competition. Doing so can encourage arguing and cause a relationship strain. Instead, you should look to find a way to make it a joint effort. The ‘kindness jar’ technique is just one of many great examples to achieve this.
When they start co-operating and working and playing together nicely, your children are bound to get along.
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.