Long summer days can mean one of two things if you have more than one child: 1) they are getting along but making a huge mess, or 2) they are fighting like cats & dogs.

Sibling battles are as old as time itself- just look at the Bible or ancient Greek writings. That’s real comforting when you are feeling beat down by the constant bickering, huh? Sibling issues are as old as time, but can we do anything to make it better?

You know I’ve got some behavior tools for you to help your kids to get along with each other a little better.

Make them a team

Have your kids team up to complete an activity together- like mopping the floor or scrubbing the windows. Just kidding! Make it something FUN! How about they work together to create an obstacle course their friends can go through? Or they can team up to play a prank on you and your partner? Put them on the same side- but make it FUN! Bonus points if you can catch a quick video of them laughing and having fun together to show them later as a reminder that they really DO like each other!

text: don't just give more attention
text: don't just give more attention
text: don't just give more attention
text: don't just give more attention
Practice compliments or gratitude

Every evening that you sit down together at the dinner table, start a new routine of giving compliments or saying something you are grateful for. Pick one family member each night. Every single person names something they appreciate about that family member. When siblings are struggling to be kind to one another, let them go last to hear what others have to say about their sibling. Maybe it’ll jump start their memory of those things the really DO like about each other or the things they’ve had FUN doing together before. Don’t stop after one round where every family member gets a night. Keep going all summer long to lavish that praise on each other and build up those precious relationships! And make sure Mom & Dad get a compliment night- it’s not just for kids!

Give them a break

Make sure your kids know how to ask for alone time and that they actually get that alone time. Being together a LOT can lead to some squabbles. (Anyone want to think about 2020? That was some togetherness!) So make sure your children each know how to respectfully tell others that they just want to be alone. “I need some alone time” is much better than “I’m never going to play with you again!” And make sure that alone time happens, especially when they ask nicely for it. Intervene to keep the sibling who is being a pest out of their hair while they get that much needed alone time to rest and recharge.

Use a positive reinforcement system

Give sibling kindness points every time you see them actually being kind to each other. Reach a certain number of points and you get to do something fun together or have a celebration! You can use a sticker chart, a rewards app, or just write down some tally marks on a piece of construction paper.

The purpose is to bring the focus to acts of kindness amongst siblings. Share with your sibling? You get a point! Wait your turn for something without complaining? You get a point! Walk past your sibling without smacking them? You get a point! Everybody gets a point! (Said in my best Oprah voice of course) And when they get enough points- the reward is something TOGETHER. Have an ice cream party, a picnic, go to a different park or fun play place, stay up late, have a sibling sleepover in one bedroom, extra video game time that is a 2-player game- you name it. Build up those acts of kindness and then celebrate together.

You can do all of this on your own or let me make it easier for you with our Sibling Kindness Challenge. Get videos for yourself and for your kids to watch, printables, and ideas to help you spend less time as a referee and more time celebrating kindness in your home.