You hear the other mother’s group mums talk about the struggles of siblings fighting but it isn’t until you are actually living that life that their vents and complaints make sense. Perfect sense.
You might only just be entering this stage and are wanting to know how much fighting is normal, or you might be well in the throes of it and looking for tips on how to minimise the conflict. Let’s just get one thing straight before we move forward – siblings fighting is 100% normal!
Strategies for managing siblings fighting
Should you get involved or let them work it out themselves? There is no denying that siblings fighting with one another can build character and enhance their conflict resolution skills. But the question remains… are there strategies for managing the fighting of young children and toddlers or should you just let them sort it out?
The answer – BOTH.
Here are some signs you should watch for and activities that can help break them up when your little ones start fighting:
- Warning signs that it’s a-comin’ – your toddler/s may be tired, over-excited or going through a phase where they are discovering a new dynamic. Keep an eye out for small changes in behaviour and act before resolutions are needed.
- Activities to help break them up – just like adults, toddlers need to be distracted from conflict and given time to calm down. There are a lot of activities that can do this. Simple things like getting them to ‘hug it out,’ everyone sitting in the reading corner and picking a book from the bookshelf to read, to arts and craft.
TIP: keep tired and hungry toddlers away from one another. It may seem obvious but when you are mentally exhausted from listening to the siblings fighting, these things become less clear.
Siblings fighting: When should you step in?
It is important for kids to be given the opportunity to resolve issues on their own, so give them a chance. If the situation escalates and violence or shouting starts, go mama bear on them and step in.
It is important to know that you aren’t alone in this! Parents everywhere can sympathise with you and have or are currently going through what you are now. It can be disruptive to the family dynamic; however, siblings fighting is also a very normal and necessary part of childhood development.
Take a deep breath, mumma – you can do this!