Are you about to go nuts listening to sibling squabbles? Why not turn that sibling squabble into sibling comradery? Sometimes our kids are irritated with one another because they are stuck hanging out with each other day after day. But sometimes the squabble is to get Mom and Dad’s attention.
When you give them attention for this behavior, it reproduces more misbehavior. After all, they got your valuable attention, didn’t they? It is time to turn the tables. Try this different take on the marble jar to help kids learn how to cooperate with one another.
Set up a jar in the middle of the table or counter. Show your kids a package of shiny marbles you have put aside. Explain to them whenever you “catch them” getting along, they each get to put a marble in the jar. Discuss together what they can earn when they have filled the marble jar to the brim. Try these tips for success:
Catch siblings getting along
They aren’t allowed to tell you. You get to observe the peaceful cooperation and draw positive attention to it.
Tell your kids something like this, “Wow, look at the way you are playing together”, or “Are you having fun together?”.
Try to make statements that cause them to get in touch with their own positive feelings about getting along. When you say, “That makes me happy”, you are promoting the motivation to get along only to please you.
Direct them each to put a marble in the jar.
Make a plan
Discuss together what they would like to earn when the jar is full.
The plan should include an activity or item that is meant to be shared.
Younger kids may earn a fun afternoon at a favorite pizza place, Nerf guns or a board game they want to share.
Older kids may earn a special excursion during a family vacation, a manicure day with Mom, an adventure with Dad.
The same plan is a weak plan
Don’t use the marble jar year round. It will get old and ineffective.
Be strategic in your timing. Set out the marble jar during long summers, vacations, or other times when sibling rivalry gets stirred up.
Use the teachable moments
Help your kids learn how to make good relationship choices for themselves. They still need your guidance to develop these skills.
Take the time to reinforce their positive behavior. Talk to them briefly about the benefits of getting along with one another.
Let them know how proud you are of their efforts. When you “catch them” getting along, you are directing your attention to their sibling comradery, and the overall energy in your household has the potential to change.
Do you have an effective tool for promoting sibling comradery? Please share it with us!