For many families, summertime offers a break from the hustle and bustle of the school year and a chance to move at a much slower pace. Parents often enter the summer season excited to spend more time together and make fun memories as a family. However, now that everyone has settled in, you may feel that excitement wearing off if there is an increase in bickering and quarreling. Perhaps you’re starting to feel more like a referee for the increase in squabbles and sibling rivalry between your children. The lack of a normal routine, coupled with the extra family closeness is likely starting to take a toll on the family. We get it. Family conflict is normal and unavoidable, but it is important to know how to manage differences so that you are actually able to enjoy your summer! Here are some tips to help you navigate your family’s conflicts and work to strengthen your relationships this summer!
Improve Relationships Between Siblings
- Spend time with each child individually: The best way to decrease sibling rivalry is to give each child positive, one-on-one attention, so they won’t seek negative attention from one another. Try to carve out 10-15 minutes a few times a week to spend with each child, doing an activity of their choice and nurturing their individual interests.
- Avoid comparisons and labels: When you compare your children to one another or give them labels, such as “the wild one” and “my athletic one,” you are fueling the sibling rivalry. Instead, create opportunities for cooperation by focusing on the unique abilities of each child.
- Know when to get involved: Sometimes, when a parent steps in to break up conflict, it can appear as though you are choosing a side. Try to avoid being the referee and let your children learn how to work through conflict, when possible.
- Encourage finding a solution: While you may not always need to step in as a referee or judge, you can act as a mediator, helping your kids come up with a solution that appeals to both sides. Demonstrating compromise and problem-solving tools can equip your children to solve future conflicts.
- Reward positive interactions: Take time to observe and point out positive interactions between your children. No need to go overboard, but your kids will appreciate the praise.
- Get outside: Encourage time outdoors as much as possible. This will improve your children’s sleep mood, which will help them to better resolve conflicts with siblings.
- Help identify triggers: You can help your children to prevent conflict beforehand by talking through situations that commonly lead to disputes and having them role-play how to handle those situations with respectful words and behaviors
Family Relationship Rules
- Keep boundaries in place: Summer is not the time to forgo all of the family rules. Staying firm in your boundaries is healthy for your family. Be transparent about your expectations for one another during the summertime. Have a family meeting if you need to.
- Maintain a light summer schedule: Along with keeping personal boundaries in place, your family will benefit from some sort of structure. Try to keep mealtime, screen time, and bedtime consistent. There’s still room for flexibility- bedtime can be later. Everyone will get along better if they’re getting enough sleep.
- Play together: Enjoying fun activities together as a family provides opportunities for quality time, deeper family bonding, and healthy communication. These activities don’t have to be expensive or extravagant- it can be a family game night, movie night, picnic dinner, walk through the neighborhood, or trip to the park!
- Find balance: Family activities are great, but don’t need to happen every day of summer. It’s healthy for everyone to have some downtime to themselves. Try to find a balance between planned activities together and quiet or “doing nothing” time apart. It’s okay to be bored sometimes!
- Recognize and communicate feelings: When conflict arises, try to listen to how each person is feeling and point it out. Be direct with your words on how you’re feeling as well, using “I feel…” statements, rather than placing blame.
- Remember to breathe: Emotions can run high during times of conflict. It’s okay to have strong feelings, but it’s important to model self-regulation for your family. Watch your tone of voice. Recognize when you need to step back and breathe before intervening in a state of high emotion.
Source(s): childrensmd.org, chadd.org, health.clevelandclinic.org, extension.usu.edu, today.com, gowoyo.org, myuscare.com, parentingsimply.comLearn More