Oregon is in its 9th week of the Stay Home order, and the consequent disruptions to routine and increased time at home may be making it hard for your family members to get along—especially if you have young children. However, quarantine may just be the perfect time for teaching children conflict resolution skills. Here are a few things you can try to help your children avoid or resolve conflict with their siblings at home.
Avoid Conflict in the First Place
Age differences between siblings can make it hard for them to play together. Try offering them non-age-specific activities like drawing or playdough that children at different developmental stages can enjoy. By promoting more positive interactions, you can help your children learn to enjoy one another’s company.
Politely Accept or Decline Interactions
Talk to your children about how to invite their siblings to play with them, and how to appropriately accept or decline those invitations. Encourage older children to accept invitations to play with a younger sibling for a short time only, and be ready to step in and distract the younger child when it looks like the older one needs a break.
Model Conflict Resolution
Children are sometimes witness to disagreements between adults in the household. When this happens, make sure your children also witness how you resolve your differences. Modeling conflict resolution, or telling children how you resolve arguments when they come up, can give your children examples of how to defuse tense situations.
Conflict resolution is an important life skill, and there’s no better place to teach it than at home. By teaching your children how to get along and giving them the tools they need to resolve conflict, you can help them learn to interact well with others at all stages of their lives.