It’s that time of year again! School is out. Everyone is spending more time together and the sibling battles unfold multiple times a day, every day. Sibling rivalry runs rampant in the summer, causing much pain and frustration for parents everywhere. While it’s unlikely that the bickering and fighting will vanish completely, here are a few tips that can help with minimizing sibling rivalry over summer vacation and make things a little more peaceful.
Provide Opportunities for Kindness
Help your children find ways that they can be kind and caring toward one another. When shopping with one child, ask them to pick out a treat that their sibling would like. Suggest making a gift or helping out with a difficult task as a way to encourage them to be kind. Also, offer lots of praise when they voluntarily do things for one another.
Encourage Sharing with Time Limits
Often, sibling rivalry over summer vacation is prompted by having to share toys or video games. Set very specific limits on the amount of time community items can be used. If one is over the time limit and someone else wants a turn, they must give it up immediately and for an equal amount of time. If they can’t seem to sort sharing, everyone loses the privilege of using that item.
Have Plenty of Entertainment Options Available
Another common trigger for sibling rivalry is simple boredom. If kids can’t find something to do to entertain themselves, often they will start to pester their brother or sister for some company – or as a way to pass the time. If you see the beginning of a sibling battle brewing because someone isn’t occupied, have some ideas for activities or tasks at the ready so that you can redirect, minimizing sibling rivalry.
Give Them Their Own Space
Sometimes kids just get tired of being together. Have activities or sports that each child participates in on their own. Set up independent playdates and plan one-on-one time with each of your children, whether at home or outside of the house. If they share a room, have designated places in the house that each can go to be alone if the need arises. Too much togetherness isn’t good for anyone.
Let Them Sort Things Out on Their Own
When a parent chooses a “right” and “wrong” person in a disagreement between siblings, they’re setting themselves up for more bitterness and fighting. Unless there is a clear-cut safety or moral violation involved in the discussion, take the side of everyone being wrong for fighting and only that. As tempting as it can be to jump straight into a sibling battle and end it, simply shut down any rude behaviors like yelling or physically attacking each other and tell them that they can calmly sort out their differences or there will be punishments for everyone. They’ll learn important life skills by having to discuss and negotiate their problems among themselves. If they can’t seem to work it out without fighting, no one wins and everyone is sent to their respective corners to wait out their restriction.
Though there are sure to be sibling battles in your home, you help your children learn to solve problems on their own and keep themselves independently entertained. While they may not become best friends, it will certainly help with minimizing sibling rivalry over summer vacation.
Did you experience sibling rivalry growing up? Do you have a experience or tip that helped you through summer vacation?