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Following on from the last blog on this topic. As parents we can spend a lot of time “refereeing” fights. The alternative to this is to take the time to set things up so that children are more likely to get along with each other or at least chose more helpful behaviour!
Here’s some ideas to explore:
1. Make sure your expectations about behaviour in the house is known and understood by everyone. Teachers often have a brilliant class rule along the lines of “Keep hand, feet, objects to self”. It works in the home and I would probably add “mean words” to the list too.
2. Remember to model what you are asking your children to do. It doesn’t help if children see poor conflict resolution occurring among their parents.
3. Share your attention between your children where you can to avoid that “missing-out” feeling children sometimes develop. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a super-parent, just that you need to look for special time with individual children.
4. Where you can, create spaces in the house where children can spread out. They are less likely to tread on each other’s toes that way.
5. If there are frequent squabbles over resources (e.g. devices or special toys) then create a roster. Roster in times for each child. Apply the “if you can’t abide by the roster” rule you both lose access to the good stuff. This teaches children to work together rather than fall apart – especially if the item is of value to them both.
6. Create times where the children are away from each other and have their own space, e.g. separate play-dates or after school activities. We appreciate each other more when we have time apart.
7. Don’t forget to praise, praise, praise! When children are playing well together we should be praising them for that! This is the behaviour we want more of at home so this is the behaviour we should praising as often as we see it.
Hope these tips help and please remember that the psychology team is here to help at the Centre if the squabbles are getting out of hand.