Hi friends! Thanks for the sweet comments on my craft cupboard post! That was a fun one for me. (As all organizing posts tend to be!) Today I am finally addressing a question that has popped up so many times. Questions that are all similar to these:
How do you raise your girls to be so sweet to each other? Is there anything you did in particular when they were really little that ensured they would be so close and get along so well?
Your girls are darling! Do they fight with each other? How do you help them be such good friends?
If you’ve read my blog for a while you know that my two girls are thick as thieves. I have loved getting asked this question because it has really made me stop and think – what am I doing that has helped to create such a great relationship between my girls? My girls have completely different personalities (as most siblings do!) and yes – they do fight (as all siblings do!). Obviously it helps that they are close in age and share a lot of the same interests, but I do think that there are things you can do as a parent to help foster and encourage loving relationships between your kids. Here are a few things I’ve done that I believe has helped my girls become the inseparable duo that they are today. :)
1- Keep a low key schedule with lots of down time for your kids to play with each other. As much as I love to socialize and to be out and about, I also crave down time every day. I love to be home with all of my kids home with me. Quiet family time. I need it so that I can stay on top of my house and things that are important to me. My kids need it so that they can spend quality, uninterrupted time together. No TV. No play dates. No running around from one activity to another. Just time at home to be creative and play. My girls spend SO much time at home with each other. They have become each other’s best friend simply because I have given them no other option! :)
2 - Teach your children how special sibling relationships are. I tell my girls all the time how lucky they are to have each other. Another way that I reinforce this is through my scrapbooks and photo albums. For Valentines day a couple of years ago I made my girls a photo book called “Sisters” (you can see the whole book here).
This book is so simple and was easy to make. Just pictures of them and little tidbits about how close they are and all of the things they love to do together. We read this book often and it is a constant reminder to them of how special their relationship is. This is one example of a visual way to teach siblings that they are lucky to have each other. We also talk about our relationships. Sometimes at dinner I’ll ask my kids random questions about their day and about each other. For example: “Ellie – what is one thing you love about Addison?” … oh I love that about her too!” or “Addison, did you get to see Ellie at school today? … I bet that was fun!”
3 – When your kids do fight, teach them how to compromise and work it out together. We talk A LOT about compromise at our house. I am always saying to my girls “what can we do that will be fair for everyone?” or “How can you two work this out together?” Then I give them a chance to come up with the answer. Often with a little prompting, I can get them to solve their own disagreements. If not, I quickly solve things for them by saying that if they don’t stop fighting we will be done playing and move on to our chores or bedtime. If they are fighting over a certain toy, I tell them that if they can’t work something out that is fair, the toy will be taken away and neither of them will get to play with it. That usually does the job. :)
4 – Use behavior charts to help encourage positive attitudes towards each other and no fighting. Not long ago I shared my star behavior charts which have always been a huge motivator for my girls to have positive attitudes towards each other and to not fight. Having something set up like this where siblings are rewarded for being kind to each other and not fighting is a great way to encourage your kids to get along.
5 – Give positive praise when you see your kids getting along and being kind to each other. This one is HUGE! Positive reinforcement is such a powerful tool. I look for opportunities all the time to praise my girls for getting along or being kind to each other. I’ll say things like “Ellie, I love the way you are playing so nicely with Addison and letting her use your doll. What a good big sister you are.” Or “Addison, that was such a sweet thing to say to Ellie. I bet that made her feel so happy!” Comments like this always make my girls smile. They feel special and proud of themselves and it encourages them to continue to do nice things for each other in the future.
Seeing the way my kids love each other is one of my favorite things about being a mom.