Familiarity can sometimes breed contempt: if you’re sensing a certain rancour between your children, which can happen at any age, try some of these tips to build the trust between them that can support a close and happy dynamic. If your kids already get along well, these ideas will help to strengthen that bond even further.
Most children these days have hectic schedules with sport, dance and a host of other extra-curricular activities. Enrolling your children in a dance or sport class together will mean that they’re in someone else’s supervision, and required to cooperate. If they’re in too different an age group to do the same classes, get them to teach what they learnt in their class to each other when they come home. Even if one is younger than the other, get them to take turns to teach; mum and dad can join in too.
Get Hands On
While it may seem like a strange suggestion, from the age of about five children have the dexterity to learn massage, and you should encourage them to try it. If you’re worried about them hurting each other unwittingly, supervise them and alert them to any discomfort the other person is feeling. Once they learn what creates pain, they will learn not to do it; though practice is the only way to teach them that awareness and responsiveness. It’s also the best way to teach compassion. If you’re worried that they may try to hurt each other deliberately, massage is an excellent opportunity to work through the trust and power issues that they might have with each other. Make sure that they swap and take turns to both give and receive; both will come to realise the importance of trust in this exercise.
Share and Share Alike
Where ever possible get them to share possessions; a beloved toy might be jealously guarded, but if one sibling can show to the other that they also will take care of the object, it will increase trust and also make sharing easier across the board. And what a relief that will be to parents!
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Do as many things together as a family as possible; realistically meals is the main time this it’s achievable, but it’s also one of the most important times. Not only is it an opportunity to set in place healthy eating patterns and good manners that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, it’s a great opportunity to talk, to share and to listen, between parents and siblings.