The summer holidays may have brought out the worst in your children, just because they are siblings, doesn’t mean they get on. Unused to spending time together, there can be an adjustment period, and it can cause friction in the most placid of families….and if yours are like mine and prone to fiery outbursts, it can be exhausting.
Don’t be deceived by the loving photos on my instagram, my two are excellent at posing for a photo mid argument, and then going straight back to it the minute the camera is off them, real blogger kids! They are often squabbling over the most ridiculous seeming things. Here are some tips I’ve picked up in my extensive experience of siblings at war.
Safe spaces: Ensure the children have a safe space where they can go to escape and make sure that everyone knows that when someone is in their safe space, they must be left alone. This can be easier said then done but persist with it!
Over Praise: When there is even a glimmer of kindness, praise it! Tell them how lovely it is to see them being nice to each other.
Keep Them Tired: Make sure you burn off that excess energy, we tend to do something first thing in the morning and that makes them calmer. Even just a scoot around the block can help.
But Not Overtired: Over-tiredness is the devil. Late nights and lots of activities can leave them exhausted which doesn’t generally make for harmony in my experience. For every action packed day and late night, try to factor in a quieter day and some early nights. Even a nap if they will entertain the idea. We call them siestas or ‘catch ups’ which don’t meet as much resistance. Even half an hour in bed or a quiet place with a book can help them to destress.
Feed Them Often: Hanger is a real thing people! Keep the food coming, if yours are anything like mine, they can never eat enough, as well as three meals, they also need plenty of snacks. Sugar hits tend to make the fighting worse so we have handfuls of popcorn, chunks of cheese, carrot or breadsticks with hummus, fruit, tomatoes, pretzels or toast and peanut butter.
Have Anger Outlets: If they get cross, (which we all do from time to time!), give them good coping strategies, 50 bounces on the trampoline if you have one, 60 star jumps, punching a cushion, shouting into a pillow and writing down all the reasons they feel cross can all help.
Build The Bond: Get them to tell each other what they mean to each other. Have a kindness count of all the nice things they say or do. Encourage them to play games or read to each other.
Don’t Despair: They will adjust to being together again, (by September probably! 😉 ) it is normal for siblings to fight and everyone’s kids are doing it. Trust me! Factor in some escape time for yourself. A run, a good book or a hot bath, whatever keeps you calm.