Dealing with tantrums

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If you have a toddler I am sure you have been there .Toddler temper tantrums are common and if properly addressed they can be completely manageable.

Knowing the reasons for your child’s behavior will help you to address the problem much better and maybe avoid the tantrum all together.

The part of the brain which regulates emotion and controls social behavior is called the prefrontal cortex.According to scientists the prefrontal cortex is preoccupied helping children to learn a new language up until the age of 4.

Children aged 4 and under therefore throw tantrums because their brain is not yet developed enough to control and regulate their emotional and social behaviour. You cannot stop your child from having tantrums, but you can deal with them and maybe prevent some of them.

If you’re concerned your child’s tantrums are outside the norm start a simple diary to follow your child’s behaviour. Record the time, duration, situation before and after each tantrum. After 7 days examine the results, look for patterns and make decisions accordingly.

Also, the stress that toddlers and preschoolers have increases their cortisol level, which is the root of Tantrums.
Wondering what kind of stress a toddler can have?

Being a young vulnerable child entirely dependant on Mum and Dad to meet your basic needs never mind all the more complex things like your forming wants and desires is STRESSFUL! Can you imagine not being able to go about your day and help yourself? That every time you need or want something there is a very real possibility you’ll be told ‘No’ , end of , no explanation – just ‘NO’ …..

The 4 types of tantrums:

Power tantrums happen when your child hears “no” and doesn’t know how to respond to that. Simply giving a choice can alleviate this .

Helping your child to feel they are in the driving seat of their life. So , as your child begins to draw on their hands/the wall etc don’t just shout ‘no’ ! Still absolutely say ‘no ‘ and don’t allow them to draw on walls – but , offer a choice as well , you could try it like this : ‘uh-o , no , we don’t draw on walls , hmmm….where can you draw? How about on this page? Or will we find you a colouring book?’ .

Just loudly stating ‘No’, will have effect in getting your child’s attention yes ,but it needs to be followed through on . I always try to put myself in my child’s shoes, to understand how they feel just hearing a blunt ‘no’. I would react defiantly too if a ‘no’ was doled out without reason , would you not?

Instead of lifting your toddler , plonking them on the changing table and starting to undress them, change nappy and dress them again involve them in the process , ‘we need to change your nappy – do you want up on the changing table ? Or will we change you here on the floor?/ would you like this dress or your dungarees today?’

Attention tantrums . Ok so this one is usually met with , don’t give them attention or they’ll learn it’s an acceptable way to get what they want – I disagree! A child who is screaming for your attention , NEEDS your attention! Give it to them. Give it to them BEFORE they need to tantrum for it. Attention tantrums need never happen if you take time every day to connect deeply with your child (each of your children) It can be as simple as looking them in the eye while you ask what they’d like for breakfast.A good morning hug. Gently combing and tying up their hair.Eye contact while you smile at them and just be present in that moment – for only a moment – and then on with your busy day. Trust me , just taking that brief moment to be present will transform your day and your child’s day.

There are 3 times a day that I feel are the most important for connection. A Mum I shared this with recently told me it has been a complete game changer in her home. The first 3 minutes after your child wakes , make sure your communication is positive , un-distracted and make eye contact . Also the first 3 minutes when you are reunited after crèche/playschool / school and lastly the last 3 minutes before bedtime. Commit to being present , positive and interested at these 3 times (at least) and see attention tantrums completely disappear!

Frustration tantrums You’ve been there right?You’ve been trying everything in your power to open that jar and it’s not budging – grrrrr!!!! Or you’ve asked your child to put their shoes on 10 times in 10 different ways , you’ve begged and pleaded and commanded and they’re still not responding – what do you do?Arrrrrgh!!!! Frustration.

When we can’t control our environment we get frustrated , and unless we’ve been taught/taught ourselves more constructive ways of dealing with our frustration – we tantrum! And so do our children! So how can we reduce the amount of frustration in our children’s lives? Well , again giving choice helps , having things at your child’s level helps , teaching them independence skills helps , but a lot of the time – just understanding that they are frustrated and empathising is as much as we can do.

In life – there will be frustrations and we can’t take that away from our child without crippling them by depriving them of opportunities to learn how to handle their frustration.As parent’s it’s natural to want to jump in there and help them/ do it for them , but do resist that temptation. In time your child will learn the skills they need and frustration tantrums will come less and less often , by hopping in there and doing it for them you delay this.

Over-stimulation tantrums , Some children more than others will become overstimulated by their surroundings. In my family , this was my son and I found that even as a newborn, if the lights were too bright or too many people were looking at him or holding him he would become overstimulated, and cry and cry for me to help him to deal with this uncomfortable feeling. My daughters seemed to be able to tolerate brighter , noisier and busier environments but still have their own limits , where it goes from fun and games to meltdown.

Often times as parents we bring these tantrums on ourselves. Maybe on pinterest or instagram that party looked incredible – but in real life – for your child – it’s just too much – too different from their everyday environment. They aren’t being ungrateful for the time and effort you took to plan their party , they aren’t necessarily high on sugar (though they may be) and they aren’t being ‘naughty’. The same goes for when you take them to a soft play centre , the cinema , on a shopping trip , to visit relatives .It always seems like the most inopportune time that your child has a meltdown , And maybe your embarrassed , but the discomfort you’re feeling in that moment is nothing compared to the overwhelm your child is suffering and your disapproval only adds to their hurt.

My advice? Get them out of there! They are feeling so overwhelmed and uncomfortable their screams and cries are their way of pleading with you for help. Forget insulted relatives – theyre adults – they can deal with it . Your child needs to be removed from that situation to rebalance and reconnect with what truly matters . So lift them and cuddle them and go to the car , or outside , or some secluded area if you can’t bring them home. Empathise , listen and just be there until they realign. If they seem to be caught in their upset unable to break free of it , I’ve found bursting into song helps , being silly , distractions at first and then as they begin to calm you can tell them how you understand , perhaps you’ve been there yourself , or know someone who was . Let them know that what they felt was ‘normal’ and okay , and that you’ll be there as long as they need you. Maybe , you need to rejoin the party, so tell your child ‘ok , we’re going to have to go back in soon ok? Are you ready now , or do you need another minute?’ . Reassure them that if they feel overwhelmed again they can just tell you and you’ll take them out. If they’re not yet vocal, allow them to lead you by the hand ,or point at the door when they need to leave. For small babies , respond to their cries , rock them , feed them , let them sleep , cuddle them in a sling to avoid ‘pass the baby’, and, show them through your actions that you understand , and you will be there for them.

There will be times when it’s hard to keep your cool and not melt into a full-blown parent tantrum!

Remember :

  • Toddler temper tantrums are part of your child’s normal development. Every child tantrums and it will pass. 
  • Avoid thinking that your child is manipulating you. They simply don’t know how to deal with that bad feeling they have.
  • Humor is good – do distract yourself by watching something funny or thinking of a joke. However , I absolutely do NOT mean you should laugh out loud when your child is upset – ABSOLUTELY NOT! That will only be condescending and hurtful to your child. Thinking of something funny or beautiful or calming inside your own mind while your child is tantruming will assist you in changing your physiology from a frown to something more neutral or maybe even positive. When your child is lost in a sea of frustration , overwhelm or anger your calm disposition will be reassuring and comforting , and if the only way you can provide that is by not being completely present in the moment and going somewhere else in your mind then do that. Responding to your child’s tantrum by tantruming yourself will only serve to teach your child that yelling , and fighting is an acceptable way to deal with high emotions.
  • Ignore other people. The looks you get from other people when your child has a tantrum , may or may not be supportive but that’s irrelevant.
  • Go easy on yourself. You’re child’s tantrums are not an ill reflection of your parenting.
  • Take a break, If you feel at the end of your tether , when you can’t respond kindly to your child – take a break – for both of your sake’s. You can’t pour from an empty cup!

Disciplining after a tantrum:
Don’t give in.Stay consistent with your household rules.Don’t give in to avoid or appease a tantrum. The rules are the rules .You consciously choose those rules for your household ,so they are obviously important for you. You can be empathetic and loving and compassionate towards your child who is finding keeping these rules difficult at the moment – without changing the rules.Be supportive as they navigate their path , allow them to feel their feelings and empathise , give them choices and listen to their objections – the rules are still the rules!

It might take months , it might take years, but believe me, one day your patience will definitely pay off.

As with all areas of parenting your behaviour is a living model for your child.Meeting a toddler tantrum with a tantrum of your own ,punishing, yelling, threatening, will only increase the tantrums in the future.

Remember, toddler temper tantrums are a part of your child’s development. Do not feel bad, stress out and most importantly do not fall into thinking your child is manipulative or spoilt. Be kind, supportive, show love and empathy.

 

The magic of touch and how you can harness it’s power in your parenting

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I wasn’t really a difficult teenager – at least that’s how I remember it . But , like all teenagers I was finding myself in this world , and experiencing plenty of frustration.

After one explosive argument with my mother , I came to her with my tail between my legs , ‘I just don’t know why some days are just so hard!’. I was out of balance , but unaware ,yet, of how that affects me.

My mother and I brainstormed for a while, and do you know what we discovered?Just a hug a day could completely transform my disposition , restore balance , and as if by magic ,make all right in my world.

Since making this discovery and noticing it to be true time and time again ,I became fascinated by the restorative properties of touch.

Psychologist Matthew Hertenstein, PhD, director of the Touch and Emotion Lab at DePauw University says  “Most of us, need more human contact than we’re getting,”  “Compared with other cultures, we live in a touch-phobic society that’s made affection with anyone but loved ones taboo.”

“A hug, pat on the back, and even a friendly handshake are processed by the reward centre in the central nervous system, which is why they can have a powerful impact on the human psyche, making us feel happiness and joy,” explains neurologist Shekar Raman, MD, based in Richmond, Virginia. “And it doesn’t matter if you’re the toucher or touchee. The more you connect with others—on even the smallest physical level—the happier you’ll be.”

When my son was born he really underlined the importance of touch. Kevin was , what Dr Sears would refer to as , a ‘high – needs baby’. But , touch is important for ALL babies!

  1. Touch is Calming and Stimulating: One of the first ways we relate to our babies is through touch. Certain types of touch calm our babies and other types of touch alert them. Deep and even pressure, such as a massage is calming, while light tickling is alerting. Giving your baby a variety of touch experiences will enable them to process touch sensation and respond appropriately rather than over- or under- responding.
  2. Touch Teaches Babies about their Bodies: Ever notice how newborn babies move their arms and legs randomly, and often in a jerky manner? They’ve not learned how their body parts are connected or how to control them yet. As babies develop they gain control over the different parts of their bodies and move them in an increasingly fluid way. Ultimately they turn into toddlers and preschoolers who have mastered their gross motor skills. As babies are handled and stroked they learn where their knees are in relation to their feet and how their hands are connected to their arms.
  3. Touch Tells Babies about Proximity: As a babies experience touch, they begin to understand where their body ends and mother’s starts. This allows a child to sense how close or far away people are.  Just as I am working on  learning the size and boundaries of the car as I learn to drive , a baby needs tactile experiences to learn the boundaries of their bodies .

Holding and carrying our babies and toddlers is a great way to enjoy physical contact with them. Babywearing, with an ergonomically designed baby carrier , makes carrying your baby easier too. As it spreads the baby’s weight evenly across your hips and back , making it possible to carry your baby comfortably for longer.

Dr Sear’s lists the benefits of babywearing on his website Askdrsears.com.

1. Sling babies cry less.

Certainly in my experience I’ve found this to be true , just as I need a hug a day , so too have each of my babies. In particular, I’ve noticed, the longer my baby spends been worn in a carrier each day the happier and more sociable they are , and the sounder they sleep both for naps and at night. I’ve no doubt babywearing plays a huge role in balancing my children.

2. Sling babies learn more.

When babies are held close ,they ,like the rest of us , feel safer and more secure. A secure relaxed baby isn’t wasting precious energy crying or fussing.They don’t need to learn to ‘self sooth’ and so they learn other things! Held up at your chest (close enough to kiss) they watch your mouth move as you chat and hear you easily. With them so close, you’ll find it easier, to respond to their babbles.

I was fully convinced my 6 month old son was talking when Simon(my husband) kindly pointed out I was the only one who understood his ‘words’! He did go on to have a string of words, that were easily understood by anyone who would listen, by 9 months old ,which I feel justified in attributing to babywearing. Dr Sears explains ” I have noticed that sling babies seem more attentive, clicking into adult conversations as if they were part of it. Babywearing enhances speech development. Because baby is up at voice and eye level, he is more involved in conversations. He learns a valuable speech lesson – the ability to listen.”

Carried babies see what you’re seeing at your level, which makes it so much easier for them to follow your processes and go on to mimic your behaviour.

A baby lying alone in a bassinet or on a blanket, might feel frightened by the bang of a door slamming shut or even the hum of the vacuum cleaner but if that baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. Baby trusts that you will respond appropriately if something is dangerous for them. Being close to you helps your baby feel safe and secure when exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences . They don’t waste time concerned with insecurities and instead focus all that energy on learning about their environment, and social behaviours.

 

3. Sling babies are more organised.

Dr Sears explains it best on his website , when he says “It’s easier to understand the benefits of babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organisation. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organising these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb.”

So, since all human babies are born so much more vulnerable than babies from other species, it’s been found that carrying your baby gives them the opportunity to continue developing with the same emotional security they experienced in the womb. “The benefits of babywearing “remind” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.” says Dr Sears.

You’ll notice your baby is feeling unorganised if they develop what Dr Sears calls “disorganised patterns of behaviour” . This includes colicky cries, jerky movements, self-rocking , anxious thumb sucking, irregular breathing, and disturbed sleep.It may help if you give babywearing a try , or simply become more mindful about how often and for how long you hold your baby. Spend more time skin to skin , or perhaps try a baby massage class to increase the amount of positive physical touch your baby experiences.

Studies have shown that massaging a baby can reduce crying and fussiness, help them sleep more peacefully, and alleviate common ailments like constipation and colic. It’s been said that it even boosts your baby’s ability to fight off germs!

Research into physical affection notes that positive touch has measurable health benefits. “Stimulating touch receptors under the skin can lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, effectively reducing stress,” Hertenstein says.

Being aware of the benefits of touch can help us to be more conscious and deliberate in the way we use the power of touch in our parenting.When it comes to touch, awareness is key ,if you are distracted, you and your child will be less likely to reap the stress-reducing rewards.Being mindful with our touch can lead you to seeing every physical embrace with your child for the gift that it is and reminds us to linger there a little longer. For both your child’s sake – and your own!

 

 

 

Sleep Deprivation

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Sleep deprivation ! As parents, this is probably the number one thing we battle with.Getting our children into bed, sleeping soundly at an early enough hour so we can get a few jobs done , relax with our spouse/partner and get a solid nights sleep is ,obviously, what we’re striving for . Easier said than done! Realistically , life happens ; the baby gets sick , your toddler has a nightmare , your school aged child gets worried about school , or your mind is racing thinking about what you need to do tomorrow for work. So , before we attempt to manage it , let’s first look at whats actually happening to your body when you are sleep deprived.

1.Reaction time slows: Sleep deprivation leaves you unable to react as quickly as you normally would.

2.Your cognition suffers—both short- and long-term: A single night of sleeping only four to six hours can impact your ability to think clearly the next day. So , if you’re sleep-deprived you will have trouble processing information and making decisions.

 

3.Memory and learning declines: The process of brain growth,  is believed to underlie your brain’s capacity to control behaviour, including learning and memory.

4.Emotions are heightened: As your reaction time and cognition slows, your emotions will be kicked into high gear. This means that arguments with your spouse are likely, and you’re probably going to be at fault for blowing things out of proportion.The amygdala controls basic emotions like fear and anger. Your frontal cortex, plays a key role in the regulation of emotions, and sleep is vital for its function.Sleep deprivation causes a disconnect between these two brain centres.

5.Immune function and health deteriorates: Sleep deprivation has a negative effect on your immune system and lack of sleep is tied to an increased risk of numerous chronic diseases.Research shows that sleeping less than six hours per night more than triples your risk of high blood pressure, and women who get less than four hours of shut-eye per night double their chances of dying from heart disease.

 

So , it’s established , You Need Around Eight Hours of Sleep Every Night .The studies are quite clear and most experts agree. But a full eight hours of sleep , often times is just impossible for parents of young children.

Here’s what you can do

  • Be prepared. When you have small children, getting woken up in the middle of the night can be more the rule than the exception. Choose to go to bed earlier at least once if not twice a week to catch up on lost sleep or deposit some extra zzzz in your sleep bank so you’re not too exhausted on the nights you are waking.
  • Take naps. I know you’ve heard this a million times . It may sound like impractical advice. Of course  , I’m a mum too , I know there are jobs that need doing and it’s so much easier to complete these jobs without a tiny person attached to your hip! But, on those days when your totally depleted, make use of that opportunity those of us with older children rarely have, and nap when your baby naps.
  • Catch up on sleep during the weekend. Many sleep-deprived mothers , have responsibilities at work, as a parent, and in running their home.They feel like there’s simply no way to get enough sleep during the week. If you’re nodding your head in agreement right now why not swap time with your partner/ your parents or a sympathetic friend on weekends so that you can catch up with a good sleep then.
  • Help your child sleep more soundly. Did you know I’ve written an ebook with my sleep induction method ?Which , has taken my kids from fighting sleep and 2 hour long bedtimes to 3 little kids who happily hop into their beds at 7.30 each night and quickly and easily drift off to the land of nod! You can get the ebook here for just €6.99.
  • Relax before bed. Bedtime rituals are important for everybody, not just toddlers! So don’t try to go straight from checking email to bed. Instead, dim the lights and listen to a bedtime meditation. Building in a little time to unwind before getting into bed will help you sleep more soundly.

The In Tune Parent’s sleep guide isn’t just for babies and children.You’ll find you can also use the sleep induction method to help you get back to sleep after night wakening quicker and easier allowing you to clock up those 8 hours a night.

A good night’s sleep doesn’t have to be a far off dream.

Order the In Tune Parent’s Sleep Guide now and see the results your longing for ,as early as ,tonight!!

 

 

Why we loose our temper and how to control it

yelling.jpg.CROP.cq5dam_web_1280_1280_jpegLoosing your temper? You want to be a calm gentle parent but in the heat of the moment you explode in anger , you shout or yell or stomp. Or when you reason with your child you can see they understand their behaviour isn’t acceptable yet the tantrums continue. The thing is , some responses are so deeply anchored in our subconscious that when triggered we blow up regardless of our conscious desire for change.

Here’s how it works: Information is always coming at us. First it goes through the amygdala(the part of the brain that regulates the fight or flight response) .The amygdala controls where it will be sent, either to the cortex (your thinking brain) or the limbic system.So when the incoming information triggers an emotional response, it gets sent to the limbic system, which is the center for your primitive emotions . Now you’re reacting from ‘autopilot’ (because logic and reasoning take place in the cortex, and you’re not operating from there!), so then a flood of hormones is released that causes you to be alarmed. You get a surge of energy, and you release it by shouting /grrr-ing/shaking your arms in the air/stomping your foot or other forms of aggression.

Once you’ve calmed yourself and are in a calm state again, your cortex reengages, and you can reason again. This causes you to feel terrible about shouting because you see it wasn’t a reasonable response. Guilt takes you over – now this isnt necessarily bad. There is alot of articles written on ‘mommy guilt’ and it’s true that as parents we often over think , over worry and magnify our guilt to unnecessary proportions.I’m going to be a little contoversial here though and say guilt has it’s place. Guilt can be a good motivator and spur you on once you’ve consciously made a decision to change.

The above is true for both adults and children , and now that your aware of how and why we all loose our temper from time to time , you can put a plan in place to help you both control your responses.

  • Get yourself a notebook for change work. Here you will write down what triggers you and try to find out why it is a trigger. Usually, our triggers come with negative thought patterns which go on to fuel frustration and build negative feelings. Disable your triggers, by getting to know them. Understanding our triggers and choosing to reframe the thoughts that accompany the trigger will stop it in its tracks and allow you to respond in a more desirable manner. For example, instead of “My child is driving me nuts” try “My child is having a hard time and needs my help.” If you are consistent with this, then, over time, the trigger will become deactivated.

  • To help your child reframe their triggers jump in with the word ‘yet’ and a beaming smile and playful disposition. So , when your child yells ‘Iahh can’t do it!’ you say ‘YET’ , or ‘I dont like carrots’ ‘YET’ !

  • There is a space in between every action and reaction. A small fleeting moment in most cases as reactions happen quickly , but space all the same . You can learn to acknowledge that space and expand it, which will provide you with a larger window in which to choose your response. When you find yourself in that space, try these tricks to calm yourself:

  1. Deep breath and repeat a keyphrase, such as “gentle and calm.” or “focus”

  2. If you really need some form of physical expression , clap your hands ( explain to your child your clapping your crazies out – thanks for the inspiration Raffi )

  3. write in your change-work journal

There will be times that, despite your best effort, you may end up shouting ,stomping or growling ‘argh’. You’re human. Apologize to your child, tell them it wasn’t their fault and that you made a mistake , make an effort to reconnect, and move on.

Modelling this positive, ‘growth’ approach to your temper will encourage your child to approach their temper similarly.

It will take work and it’s not easy but the fact that your even interested in this article is foretelling enough .You WILL achieve this level of self discipline.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to go abit deeper into this , I’d like to invite you to join the facebook group here ,scroll through the group for the 5 week challenge videos.


You may also enjoy my weekly newsletter , you can sign up here.

Raising Siblings that enjoy and seek out each others company

I was born the youngest of four children. A lot of my childhood memories are of desperately and unsuccessfully trying to keep up with my older siblings.Being one of the four was, and, in many ways still is , a huge part of my identity.

Even when Kevin was a newborn , I thought of him as my ‘eldest’ child. The plan has always been a ‘large’ family (by today’s standards) and so raising siblings that appreciate and respect each other has long since been high on my list of priorities. Even going so far as to making vision boards of ‘Charlie and Lola’ type relationships when I was pregnant with Laura. Truth is I needn’t have worried , Kevin fell head over heels in love with Laura the first second he cast eyes on her and he has been an exceptional brother to both Laura and Lili ever since.

There have of course been ups and downs though . And there’s definitely an element of competition, perhaps even a hint of sibling rivalry between my two girls especially, but within them all really.

For me , the aim isn’t that my children never argue , or have conflict. They’re human! And honestly , conflict free does not equal a close knit relationship.It is important though , to impress upon them that their relationships with their siblings are some of the most important relationships they’ll ever have . Blood runs thicker than water.

Learning to respect their differences , to get to know each other on that deeper level , how to communicate with their sibling in the way that is right for the sibling at that moment , and getting to do so in an environment of second , third and one hundredth chances , can be paralleled to none.2017-05-11 23.17.40

So , here is what’s working so far in our young family. I cant guarantee following these steps will lead to adult siblings who love and respect each other , (I think we’ve a good chance that it will though).And I can honestly say , that with applying these principles in our home , my three kids play together eagerly , resolve conflict between themselves  with respect , and enjoy and actively seek out each others company.

Model Respect

When our children see us responding with our spouse/partner with love and respect , when they see us speaking kindly and respectfully to our friends and directly to our children themselves they learn how to be respectful to others. If we shout at them , snatch things , wag fingers and point out their short comings you can be sure they’ll do the same with their siblings.

  • We also explain that we know of course there’ll be times when they are angry , conflicts will happen , but it’s NEVER acceptable to hurt each other.It’s no more acceptable to hurt a sibling than it is to hurt a parent , teacher or friend from down the street.
  • Regular Family meetings – to stay connected on what’s working and what’s not

-Model active listening , turn taking , not interrupting

  • Teach appropriate ways to express anger (finding a quiet space , deep breaths, drink a cold glass of water , count to ten , remind yourself of a keyword that will trigger a calm state for you ,etc)and appropriate things to say(for example , using ‘I’ statements) to express yourself and your opinion freely without hurting anybody.

Don’t Intervene

Accompany modelling with a willingness to allow your children to work through their disputes. With younger children you may need to mediate , but be mindful to allow them to find their own solution to the issue and to apologise organically if they so choose. A forced apology holds little meaning for either party. With small children I might suggest , depending on the situation , ‘Do you feel sorry? Maybe it would help if you told her how you feel?’ However , instructing a child to apologise when they don’t feel sorry , in my opinion , will do more harm than good.

Be mindful of patterns in the dynamic between the children. Does one child choose all the games /take all the turns etc . Call them out on it and remind them to ‘treat others as you’d like to be treated’ followed by ‘I trust you to solve this together’ to prevent mindless habits becoming lifelong resentments.

Encourage their friendship and togetherness

A huge part of adoring each other is truly knowing each other.

Of course , as siblings they’ll know each other , they share a house , maybe even a room , they live in each others pockets so they know each other ,yes, but I mean , encourage them to get to know each other deeper. Do they know what makes their brother tic? What excites their sister? What are their hopes and dreams? What are they afraid of?Encourage them to open up to each other. To be each others confidant.

Choose whole family toys and games.They’ll each have a few special things that are theirs and theirs alone , but blocks and jigsaws and books are for sharing and belong to the whole family equally. For outside , sandpits , swing sets , footballs are suitable for a wide age range and encourage togetherness. If friends call around remind your child that brothers and sisters play too , in this house no-one gets left out unless ,they choose themselves to not take part.

And lastly , talk about how close they are.

Frequently , casually recall the special moments they’ve shared together. ‘Do you remember when we went to the open farm and you helped your sister climb the fence?’ or ‘O gosh don’t you remember how you and your brother used to rock out in the kitchen while I made dinner , we should do that again soon’.

I don’t know what it is , maybe a little bit of the law of attraction at work or something like that , but talking about the good times , attracts more good times.

Noticing when they play nicely together or resolve an issue well together , furthers these behaviours and before you know it , it’s just the norm in your home.

 

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