Saturday, October 27, 2012

* Avoiding Sibling Rivalry and Encouraging Sibling Friendships with Play

One thing you may not know about me is that I'm an only child.
Deciding to have two kids was a huge leap of faith for me. 
I didn't want our oldest daughter to grow up alone, I wanted her to have 
a sibling but I was scared to death about how to parent two kids
and how to avoid sibling rivalry.
Well, flash forward into year 10 of my parenting journey
and year 6 of raising two daughters and I have to say it's better than 
I thought it would be and there will always be sibling rivalry no matter what I do. 
That doesn't mean I'm off the hook as a parent to not interfere when 
the girls fight, bicker, or bully each other -- I certainly do step in and let 
them know it won't be tolerated but I also try my best to encourage them to 
work things out on their own when they can (a useful life skill later in life.) 
One way I do this, is to encourage my daughters to be friends with each other.

This was hard at first, there is a 4 year age difference between my girls. 
When "C" was a baby, "E" (age 4) was really not a big fan of hers.
She put up with her and let us know pretty regularly that she liked it better
when she was "an only child." It was not an easy process.

Fortunately, "C" worshipped "E" and eventually she won her over. 
She smiled first for "E." If I needed a photo of "C", 
I just asked "E" to stand behind me and she would always light up for the camera. 
"E"s name was her first word other than "Cat" and before "Mama." 
Once "C" was mobile, they started to play together.

They not only became playmates but also best friends. 
How did I get them to get along?
I wish I had a secret recipe for success that I could share, this is pretty close...
I just read an article on Mom's Homeroom about 
It is spot-on in explaining that siblings need to learn how to cooperate
and that it isn't an easy process. By setting up classroom-tested
and curriculum-based games for your children, they will learn how 
to play cooperatively with friends and siblings just like they do at school. 

What kinds of activities? 
I will say that I got them to play together and the activities
we shared encouraged their friendship and bonding.
Without realizing it, I did most of the things on the list in this article.
Here are some examples from the MSN article: 

with tiny jars and cotton balls with herbs/perfume/extracts.

Create a Child's Play Area in the Garden/Backyard-
our backyard has several kid friendly play areas 
including their own fairy gardens.

Encourage Artful Collaborations and Craft time together - 
yep, we have that one covered.

Making Life-Size MuralsBody Tracing (my girls love this!)

Build Something Together - Blocks, need I say more?!

Imaginative Role Play with Props 
(Set up pretend businesses, hospital, restaurant, etc)

Toys that have to be shared, such as....
Blocks, Trains, Musical Instruments, Puzzles and Puppets
Dress- Up Clothes and in our house.... Sensory Boxes! 

Reading Children's Books Together

How do you encourage your kids to play together?

Pink and Green Mama
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Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

I have 4 kids, from 9 y.o. to 2.5 y.o. and they are all best friends. Yes, they fight, bicker and bully each other almost daily. :) But that is all natural.

Like your baby daughter, mine would learn their biggest sister's name first. My oldest is a born leader and a social butterfly. She can interact and make the shyest person smile. My son, who was born 2.5 y.o. after her was a very shy baby. Just seeing someone look at him, would make him cry. But because of big sister who was a social butterfly and he wanted to be with her so much he came out of his shell. Knowing him today, you would never guess he used to be shy.

Now my youngest 2.5 y.o., loves our social butterfly too. She is always looking for "Baaaah" as she calls her. If B. is nowhere in sight, my little one will say "Where's Baaah??"

So funny!

I grew up as the oldest of four and although we were a big group, we were never close because we went to school and we had our own set of friends. I think homeschooling has made my kids closer to each other. I pray that they stay best friends for life. :)

BTW, I love your creative ideas. I have mentioned your blog before on my learning logs. TFS!!


pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Awww...thank you so much Tereza and thank you for sharing your own story with me about your sweet kids. I have the same wish, for my daughters to always be each other's best friends first!


Shauna said...

So sweet. I loved this post. The pictures of your daughters are priceless. I have two daughers as well that are close to your daughters in age and they too are the best of friends. Yes, they have their sibling moments, but the majority of the time you will find them playing together, creating together, singing together, dancing together, reading with each other, etc. I hope that they will always have a close relationship with each other like they do right now. Seeing the love my daughters share for each other brings me so much joy and happiness as a mother.

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