I posted on Monday about how we are focusing on LOVE this month in our home!
And while we are talking a lot about God’s love, and about how much we love each of our girls, we are spending some extra time focusing on SIBLING LOVE.
Our girls are so lucky to have this little army of built in best friends, supporters and future advice givers.
But, THEY FIGHT. They bicker, argue and hurt each others feelings more than I would prefer. I know that this will continue throughout all of their years of growing up, but we can teach them the importance of learning how to love each other through the process of growing….
Here are 5 ways that we are trying to do that:
1. Love ‘Em Up: Sibling to Sibling Surprises: This was the idea straight from the book In This House, We Will Giggle. I love this idea because it teaches our girls to figure out what their sibling would receive as love. Is it making their bed so they don’t have to? Drawing a picture for them? Leaving them a note? I am helping each of the girls to do something nice for one of their siblings each day. And while, right now, its more me coming up with the ideas, I hope that it leads them to doing these sibling surprises on their own.
2. “Catch Them Being Nice” – We spend a lot of time correcting wrong hearts and wrong attitudes in this house. There are days when selfishness seems to rule the roost and its so frustrating. We started pebble collection jars when we began our chore charts, and we found that rewarding good behavior, at times, works better than correcting wrong behavior. So, this month, at the suggestion of a new friend and wonderful mom, we are “catching them being nice”. When I find them being nice, doing something loving or helping their sibling without prompting from me, I am adding a pebble to their jar. When our girls earn 7 pebbles, they get a trip to our secret prize bin.
3. Talk it Out: Truth is, we can’t avoid all arguments or selfish behavior. Fights and hurt feelings are part of the package of growing up with siblings. But we CAN teach our kids to express themselves properly, instead of biting, hitting or screaming. With our oldest two, we try to get to the heart of the issue – “Why does this make you upset?”, “Why are you feeling like you need to be selfish right now?”, “What could you do instead?”….With our younger two, and sometimes with our almost 4 year old, just explaining to them why something is hurtful to someone else is enough. We expect them to apologize with an “I am sorry for……”, and the person who was hurt needs to verbalize forgiveness. Hurts happen, and its okay.
4. Hug it Out: Another suggestion from a wonderful friend. A one minute hug after a fight!! I LOVE the idea of this, but to be honest, we have not implemented it yet. I am excited to see what happens, between the girls when they are encouraged to focus on loving each other after an argument. I think that a silly one minute hug will help to prevent any lingering hurt feelings! It will probably make for some pretty cute pictures too!
5. Teach them to pray for each other: In our house, Matt and I do the bulk of praying. But, this month, when someone has a need, we are encouraging a sibling to come and pray for them. There are few things in this world that we can do for someone we love, than to pray for them. I want my girls to be each others prayer warriors when they get older. I want them to constantly pray for one another as they continue to grow and find their own paths in life. I want them to know that praying for their sibling is important and makes a huge difference. And, it gets them thinking about the needs of others. I want it to just be second nature that when they know someone has a need, they stop what they are doing and pray for them. This is such a great place to start.
I’m not going to pretend that by implementing these things, our girls have suddenly stopped bickering, fighting or bossing each other around. They haven’t. Truth: Autumn BIT Scarlet during gymnastics class when she wasn’t listening to her, instead of encouraging her. They are not going to be sweet and kind to each other all of the time, because they are growing and learning more everyday. But, we can get the started on the path of thinking outside of themselves by teaching them to think about each other.
What ways do you teach your children to love each other, or to love others??