Sibling Saturday– Proximity

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For most of our parenting career, Rob has been on night shift at work.  Many small children, a little home, and a Daddy sleeping during the day have required some creative parenting techniques on my part.  I often say that if I had a penny for every time I said, “Shh, be quiet!” I’d be a rich woman.  In order to keep on top of the volume level of the children I must stay in the same area of the house with them.

That close proximity to monitor noise has been one of the greatest tools for teaching the children to have good sibling relationships.  When in the same room with my children I can help them navigate confrontations with kindness and respect.  Rather than mediating after a fight begins, I am right there.  By catching the situation before it spirals to unacceptable behavior I am able to guide rather than needing to discipline.

I recommend that parents stay within hearing range of their children as much as possible.  Do not allow children to bicker and fight, step in and guide them through a respectful conversation to solve the problem.  If your children do not treat each other with respect, and you cannot be near them as they play then send them to separate rooms or activities.  After working to repair the sibling relationship and the children demonstrate the ability to be kind and loving, then give them gradually longer opportunities to play together alone.  Check on them often, at the first signs of disrespect, separate them or return to playing together under supervision only.

The fruit of near constant supervision is children who understand that mistreating a sibling is never acceptable because they never get away with it.  Rather than defaulting to fighting, they default to working toward a solution.

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