One of my primary goals as a parent is raising kids who get along with one another. My three kids may all love crafts and creating, but they each have their own, distinct personality – and I’m certain that number four will be no different. And distinct personalities mean we get personality clashes! Thankfully, there is no question that they adore each other, and here are a few things we do to help them see one another as best friends:
- Family down time. It doesn’t matter what you do, but spend time together as a family. I do recommend activities that allow space for talking and laughing over those where you are all engaged in the same activity but don’t have many opportunities to interact. Going on walks, drawing, crafting, playing modified versions of chess and monopoly, and enjoying music together are some favorites from our home.
- Teach and model respect. My kids understand that they need to respect each others’ emotions, even when those emotions don’t make sense to them (say, a sibling appears to be overreacting to a situation).
- Moderate disagreements only where absolutely necessary. I’ve learned that my kids usually find with solutions that are at least as fair as the ones I would come up with – and they are learning important lessons in compromise and team work along the way.
- If you do have to moderate a disagreement, focus on core facts and solving the problem. Don’t get distracted by who said or did what first, or who is best at expressing their opinion of what went wrong. How can the issue be resolved? Is conflict the only problem, or are they also tired or hungry? Have I as their parent given them the attention they need?
- See children as individuals. Don’t define them by birth order or perceived talents. Give them space to be themselves, and they’ll surprise you over and over again.
- Don’t let children prioritize objects over siblings. My kids know that if they fight over something – be it a toy, movie, or computer game – they will lose the privilege of using that particular object.
- Recognize nice things they do for one another. Positive reinforcement goes a long way!!!
What are your best tips for helping kids get along?