Dear Dr. Renee,
We just moved to a new state and my children are getting along great. I’m sure it is because they don’t have anyone else to play with right now. How do I keep this positive sibling relationship going after we all make new friends and get busy again?
Congratulations to you for what you did to foster that positive sibling relationship! Having moved a few times as a child, I can attest to the fact that it is nice to have someone to play with when your family moves to a new location.
Here are 3 things you can do to build or continue that positive sibling relationship.
1. Have a Special Spot for Each Child
This is a place where your child can take a break, not have to share, or just escape an annoying sibling on occasion.
This is easy to do if your children have their own bedrooms. In homes where children share a room, you can get creative! A reading nook, under a bed (have a bed skirt so the child can hide), or even outside on a swing are great “Special Spots.
2. Ensure Your Children Listen to and Respect Each Other
This is especially important when one sibling says “no” or “please stop.”
Teaching your children to listen and respect others is so important. This starts with siblings, “Please stop singing in my ear.” “Please leave my room.” Then that listening and respect can carry over to friends, college roommates, and even future spouses.
3. Create a Strong Family Identity
My guess is that you are feeling a strong family bond right now as you face this new-move adventure together. You can build on that and keep it going over time. For anyone reading this who has not moved recently, you, too, can create a strong family identity.
One way to do this is to have family date nights such as movie/game nights. Go to parks or cook meals together.
I wish you and your family happy new adventures together,
If you are not where Elaine and her family are right now and need help with siblings who are not playing together nicely… you need to read these: Sibling Squabbles, What to Do About Friends Fighting, Stopping Sibling Spats, I had it first, and What to Do When Siblings Pull Punches