Last Updated on September 2, 2021.
If you have more than one child, then you know how difficult it can be to stop sibling fighting. In this blog post, we will give you some tips on how to pick your battles and how to prevent the fighting from happening in the first place. This is important for both your sanity and for the peace of mind of everyone involved!
Why do siblings fight?
Siblings fight because they lack the skills to work out their differences without fighting, plus they are competing for the same resources: space, parental attention, and love.
Fighting is how they work out their differences. Younger children may not have the language skills to verbalize how they are feeling, so fighting is they express themselves.
How to Prevent Sibling Fights
The best way to solve sibling fighting is to prevent them in the first place. Here are 5 strategies to ending sibling fights before they start.
Stay ahead of kids’ basic needs
Tiredness and hunger can sometimes trigger sibling fights. Prioritize your children’s sleep and make sure you schedule regular meals and snacks to stay ahead of their basic needs. If you don’t have one, you should implement a solid night time routine to make sure kids are getting enough sleep.
Set clear family rules
Your family rules should be clear to all members of the household, including how to solve disagreements. If you have them in writing, your children will know what is expected from them and how they can address issues peacefully.
Maintain regular routines
Family routines provide kids with a sense of stability and predictability. Consistent routines help them feel safe, important and connected to others in the family.
Teach problem resolution skills
Teach them how to solve problems without resorting to fighting. Teach problem resolution skills by giving examples of how they can use these skills in different situations (like when a kid has trouble sharing). Encourage kids to use “I feel” statements and to express their needs clearly. Introduce concepts like negotiation and compromise. Practice these skills with role-playing, and offer in-the-moment coaching when necessary.
Catch them being kind
Catch kids when they’re behaving well and reward their good behavior with praise, a hug, or positive words that encourage intrinsic motivation. Make sure to give attention to how children behave rather than how they are feeling. Validate their feelings, but don’t reinforce negative behaviors by giving in to tantrums, bad moods, or whining.
How to Handle Sibling Fights – 6 Strategies that Actually Work
You’ve tried your best to prevent sibling battles, but you’ve found yourself smack in the middle of out. What do you do? Here are 6 strategies that actually work.
Offer Coaching on Compromise
When your kids are fighting, step in and offer mediation and help them calmly read a compromise. Don’t make decisions for them and don’t choose sides, but offer ideas and suggestions on how they might find common ground.
If you’ve given them the tools to solve the problem on their own, it might be time to step away and let them figure it out. You might have to stay “You two need to figure this out together. I’m not getting involved.”
Put Them All in the Same Boat
If your kids just can’t find a solution, it might be time to put them all in the same boat. In other words, define a consequence that impacts them all equally. It might sound like this: “If you cannot compromise on what to watch for your 30 minutes of screen time, then we’ll skip TV time today.” Or you might say “If you cannot find a way to share the superhero capes, then we’ll put them in toy jail for the rest of the day.”
RELATED: Toys that are perfect for sharing!
Sometimes kids just need space. If they’re still yelling at each other, try separating them physically and give them some time to calm down. Give them quiet activities to do on their own. A little bit of quiet time can benefit everyone!
Put them in water or take them outside
My mother-in-law gave me this piece of advice when I first became a mom. If your kids are struggling, take them outside or put them in water (like the bathtub, or play in the sink). These sensory experiences work like magic. Both activities can reset their mood and distract them from their current issues.
Offer a Distraction
If your kids are fighting, offer a distraction. This can be as simple as putting on music or doing a completely different activity to do together. Keep a go-to list of distracting activities, like painting, coloring, watching a movie, reading books, etc. In a matter of minutes, they will probably forget what they were fighting about.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it normal for siblings to fight all the time?
Sibling squabbles are totally normal. Having multiple kids in the same house is sure to create an environment of competition and disagreement. However, how siblings actually fight is dependent on the personalities of your children and how you choose to handle those situations.
What is a toxic sibling?
Toxic siblings are those who create intentional drama, exclude others from the group, and enjoy hurting other people’s feelings. How can we learn how to prevent them?
The first step is recognizing that toxic behavior could be a reflection of something you’re not seeing or hearing in your child. It might help to try talking with your kids about their sibling rivalry and how they feel when they fight.
What You Should Do Next…
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