Whether it’s answering the question of whose turn it is to use a toy or who gets to be first out the door, conflict among siblings is inevitable! It can be frustrating for both children and parents, but it’s a completely normal part of raising a family.
As a parent, you may feel tempted to jump in and solve the problem for your kids. However, sibling conflicts are wonderful opportunities for children to learn communication skills, compassion, empathy, and emotional intelligence.
Here are a few tips for helping your children work through conflicts:
- Make sure all siblings know that it’s okay to express their feelings
It’s important for kids to understand that it’s not wrong to be angry, sad, or frustrated when they’re dealing with a sibling. If they feel like they can’t express their feelings, they may hold them in and get more upset over time.
- Separate kids until they’re calm
If you notice that your children are extra worked up over a dispute, don’t try to problem-solve right away! Instead, separate them until they’ve calmed down.
- Explain the causes and effects of conflict, as well as the attached emotions
Help your kids understand where their big feelings come from by walking them through the conflict. For example, “I know you want to play with that toy, and it makes you upset that your bother is using it right now. It’s okay to feel upset. But it’s not okay to hit.” This also helps your children take responsibility for their actions.
- Work toward a solution
It’s important to stick through a sibling conflict until you’ve helped your kids find a solution, so they can develop healthy conflict-resolution skills. For example, might give one sibling 20 more minutes with that toy before it’s time to switch. Be sure to set a boundary by letting them know what will happen if they don’t follow protocol.
IMAGINE EARLY EDUCATION AND CHILDCARE
Here at Imagine, we are no stranger to conflict between children. Our caregivers are experts in conflict resolution and have excellent strategies for helping kids work through big emotions. Contact us today for more information!