12 Tips to Build a Stronger Sibling Bond

Posted on June 9, 2017

It is inevitable that siblings have conflicts and disagreements, but there are many ways to foster strong sibling bonds despite their squabbles.

Here are 12 tips from Laura Markham on how to help your children have as many positive interactions as possible:

1. Notice and promote the activities that get your children playing together.
Research on improving sibling relationships shows that children have better relationships when they share activities they both enjoy. If you pay attention, you can usually suggest something that will interest both children.Try to encourage at least one shared activity every day.

2. Don’t interrupt happy play.
Support them in whatever they need to keep playing, and don’t interrupt unless it’s unavoidable.

3. Use Oxytocin to get your children bonding. Laughing. Being outdoors. Dancing. Singing. Roughhousing. Include as many oxytocin-inducing activities as you can in your daily routine.

4. Start “Special Time” between your children. Designate a daily ten minute block of time for two children to spend together. This is especially helpful if your children are widely spaced in age, or one is less interested in playing together than the other one, because it structures time together into the regular routine and maintains the connection.

5. When they’re having a bad day, pull out an activity they’ll both love, like making cookies, or dancing to shift the mood.

6. Include in your bedtime routine a chance for your children to always say goodnight and I love you to each other.

7. Support siblings to nurture each other. When one child gets hurt, make it a practice for everyone in the family to stop playing and tend to the child who’s hurt.

8. Find ongoing ways to unite them in the same mission. Getting them to work as a team is a great way to bond.

9. Promote the idea of the sibling team by creating family activities in which your children work together.

10. Put your kids in charge of a project together. For instance, maybe they’re in charge of the decorations for Father’s Day, or planning a fun family outing. Let the children work together to do the planning, with you only peripherally involved to insure safety and maximum fun.

11. Family Kindness Journal.
Tie sheets of paper together with a ribbon, or just add sheets of paper to a binder. Label it “Our Family Kindness Journal” and let the kids decorate it. Then, notice acts of kindness between your children, and write them in the journal, with the date. As you talk about the incident, celebrate that kindness has a way of warming the hearts of both people—the giver and the receiver. Soon, your children will be noticing the small kindnesses between them and asking you to record them. Before you know it, they’ll be inspired to more acts of kindness toward each other.

12. Help kids work out problems without making anyone wrong. Conflict is part of every human relationship, and children are still learning how to manage their strong emotions. Parents should resist taking sides, which increases sibling rivalry. Instead, teach kids healthy conflict resolution skills, like listening, expressing their own needs without attacking the other person, and looking for win-win solutions.

These little things that you can do can go a long way in building up strong bonds between siblings!

Category(s):Family Problems, Relationships & Marriage

Source material from Psychology Today

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