Sibling rivalry is normal between children but it can drive parents crazy. Sibling rivalry exists in every family that has more than one child, but managing it during the lock-down can be a challenging task for many parents who are equally exhausted while balancing the act of work from home in this covid-19 pandemic.
Now that kids are home all day, what seemed like constant conflict before the COVID-19 lock-down has escalated above proportion, driving parents to next-level stress.
How do we handle these challenges with children? What can parents do to meet emotional needs of their children during Covid-19?
Follow these tips to encourage a health sibling relationship:
1. Give them your attention
Sibling rivalry may rear its head as children compete for trivial things, like toys or screen-time. But they might also be acting out for something much more valuable: your attention. Juggle work from home and spend time with them as much as possible. Ask them if the are they struggling to focus on school work? Are they worried about COVID-19? Are they missing their friends? Are they bored?
2. Be judicious with punishments and rewards
Punish your children the same, no matter who started off the fight. This means if one sibling hits the other, they both go to their room, have their toys taken away, or whatever punishment you think is appropriate.
3. Plan fun family time to get your children bonding
Laughing. Dancing together. Singing together. Planning and arranging for Family dinners, Playing board games are also some activities that are a great way for children to bond and share positive memories together.
4. Get them to exercise and work off their energy
When things get tough and tense, it’s a good idea to do a few physical activities to work off their energy. To help drain their energy levels, try a DIY exercise boot camp complete with sit-ups, jumping jacks, playing leapfrog or squatting and walking like a duck etc.
5. Have your kids Team Up for Chores
For instance, maybe they’re in charge of such as sweeping or helping prepare dinner or decorations for Father’s Day, or planning a fun family “picnic” on the living room floor, complete with construction paper butterflies and flowers. Let the children work together to do the planning, under your supervision to insure safety and maximum fun.
6. Parents can be compassionate
Children are struggling in lock-down. Adults are better able to understand what is going on and why, and they are able to communicate their emotions and needs.
Depending on the age of your children, you can help older kids to learn to react gently to provocation from the other sibling. Praise and reward children when they take steps to manage their stress.
7. Stop comparing your children.
Avoid saying things like, “Why can’t you listen as your sister /brother does? Psychologists have pointed out that sibling rivalry can have far reaching consequences on the child’s overall self development. Thus, it is important to avoid comparison.