This simple kindness activity will help stop sibling fighting in three easy steps. Teach your kids how to be kind to one another through this approach and help stop sibling rivalry.
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Do you feel like you have fighting kids constantly? As if their bickering and whining will never end? Are they get along politely with their friends, but then act horribly rude to one another? Sibling relationships can be challenging and exhausting.
This simple activity will help stop sibling fighting. Ok, let's be honest. Any solution that guarantees to completely "stop sibling bickering," is definitely suspect, but this easy activity will help improve an on-edge relationship and improve a sibling bond.
I admit I grew up with three brothers, so being the mom of sisters fighting is a whole new world for me. I know my girls love each other underneath it all, but getting THEM to believe that started to feel like a challenge.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. The art of reading between the lines is a life long quest of the wise. ― Shannon L. Alder
How to Stop Sibling Fighting
To kick-start this adventure in kindness I strongly recommend learning these two terms from Playful Learning. This will set the stage for success:
"Our words are powerful. By thinking about how they affect others, children begin to develop strong communication skills and can make good decisions about how they treat the people in their lives.
If I could choose two phrases that would be introduced into every household and school across the land, it would be 'put-ups' and 'put-downs.' These are two of the most powerful concepts I have ever taught in the classroom or to my own children. Equipping young children with a deep understanding of these terms gives them the ability to communicate feelings, which may have seemed almost intangible before. The language of put-ups and put-downs provides children with the skills needed for them to speak up for themselves as well as to stand up for others.
Simply stated, 'put-downs' are words or actions that make people feel bad, and 'put-ups' are words or actions that make people feel good. It is a simple concept to teach, and the impact can be profound. Ask your child to brainstorm real-life examples of both put-ups and put-downs.
The language of put-ups and put-downs provides children with the skills needed to speak up for themselves as well as to stand up for others."
― Mariah, CEO of Playful Learning
Just being able to use terms from this lesson allowed the girls to communicate better.
1. Teach fighting kids how to be nice to one another with one of these FREE PRINTABLES.
Once your kids have the tools they need for success, your next step is to create or print a "Sweetness Chart." Here are a few of my favorite (and free) printable heart mandalas.
I'd recommend starting with one of the simpler designs the first time around!
2. Stop focusing on sibling rivalry and redirect their attention on how to get along.
Hang the "Sweetness Chart" (aka: heart mandala) on the fridge or in a prominent place, so it stays top of mind. Let the kids know that when the mandala is completely colored in, you'll enjoy a "Sweetness Day Adventure" together. Every time you see or hear the kids being kind to one another tell them they can color in a heart.
Take a moment to pop over to Creative with Kids to read Reversing an Angry Sibling Habit. This mother explained to her children...
Well, we NEED to be courteous and thoughtful in order to make our home a peaceful place to live. That means we are not just kind, we actually need to go "Above and Beyond" for each other. Being courteous means we’re thinking of ways to be helpful and going above and beyond to do that.
Be sure to click through for some great examples and phrasing you can use with your kids when teaching them how to be nice.
3. Improve the sibling bond with a Sweetness Day.
When the chart is complete, be sure to make your Sweetness Day Adventure rewarding. My girls love hanging out downtown, so we cleared an entire day for a "sister's afternoon on the town." We started with coffees, apple ciders, and hot cocoas at the local coffee shop. We walked around and eventually made it to the build-it-yourself yogurt shop.
This is the face of a girl who was allowed to put as much candy in her frozen yogurt as she wished. We'd been reading the books from the Little House on the Prairie series and I reiterated one of the lines... Sweets for the sweet.
Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. ― Don Kardong
We tooled around local shops downtown, with no place to be, simply enjoying one another's company.
Of course, we had to end the day at the candy shop. Let's just say, generally Ring Pops are not allowed at our house.
The girls brushed their teeth TWICE that evening.
On our second Sweetness Day Adventure, we went hiking for the day and (of course) ended it with ice-cream. As a reward for the chart we are currently working on, we are planning a trip to the movie theater. Do what works best for you and your family, just make sure the kids have a great time.
Here's to hoping this is true:
Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family, but once the sisters are grown, it becomes the strongest relationship.
― Margaret Mead
If you have any questions about this approach for teaching children kindness, let me know in the comments.
PS: I would venture to guess this approach would work with boys as well, but I've only tried with little ladies...
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