Skip to main content

Building Strong Sibling Relationships Through Unsupervised Play

{Sibling Play Tips}


Sometimes it is the simplest moments that seem the most magical. 

We have a few calming, quiet and short videos that we will put on for the boys every now and then in their room in the evenings. They crowd onto one of their small mattresses together, cuddle up under a blanket and then we shut the door. What happens next is the magic -- no, it's not they are quiet and captivated by the video. It is quite the opposite. It is that I hear them babbling together -- sometimes about their show, sometimes not. The point is, they are all alone in their room, without toys even, sharing a very small and tight space together with NO fussing, fighting, pushing, or arguing. They are simply enjoying each other's company, and it always brings a smile to my face.

I love hearing them giggling together and whispering their little secrets to one another, and I love thinking that maybe, just maybe, my husband and I are doing something right! 

Our boys are just under 2 years apart in age, and they can have their moments. They can quarrel with the best of them, and there have certainly been toys and activities that they've lost privileges to enjoy because all they seem to do when they have them is argue. But, they are also learning to work it out. We try and make sure we give them opportunities for (safe) "unsupervised" play -- opportunities to feel that they have some privacy and the power to problem solve situations together and to learn to cooperate. It is not always easy to do this, but we're learning that it is important. 


Sometimes, they'll come ask me to intervene (or tattle), but I'll insist that they work it out. Sometimes, they come running to me for comfort, but I'll put them back together and gently encourage them to comfort each other. Sometimes, I simply shut the door. It sends a message -- that I trust them. I'm empowering them to help each other and forgive each other. Hopefully, this allows them to build a strong relationship with each other. It is likely that many, many years from now they will not have their father and I, but they will have each other.  

I started this sibling play series in April to replace my popular baby play series and what I appreciate about the series the most is that it encourages me to take note of what activities encourage positive play and cooperation between Wild Thing and Caterpillar so that I can nurture those experiences. It helps me to listen, and if I can listen, I can learn. 




Do you have more than one child? How do you foster a strong relationship between your children? Do you feel that providing children with privacy is important? Please share. 


Thanks for reading -- You might also like: 
Learning Empathy Through Sibling Play
Sibling Play + Letter I Learning Activities
Jell-O Sensory Play 
Pinecone Painting     

Comments

  1. I totally agree with you!! I have 4 kids very close in age (ages 6-9) and when I frequently send them outside or upstairs to just play.. unstructured, unsupervised PLAY:). I love what they come up with on their own and how they work out their squabbles. Do they argue? Of course they do! But they usually can figure it out and are getting better about being fair now that they are older.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, I could totally see this growing into them watching videos together as teenagers and adults. So fun!!! I agree with your approach completely - and, so far, it has worked out well for my kids - as it worked out well for me and my siblings!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Happy Very Hungry Caterpillar Day: Celebrating 45 Years with Caterpillar and Butterfly Crafts from The Kid's Co-Op

March 20th is Very Hungry Caterpillar Day with celebrations and programs being held around the world to honor the 45th Anniversary of the book. 


We love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so of course we're joining the fun. Plus, my youngest son's blog nickname is Caterpillar, after the book. Just as Wild Thing is my 4 year-old's nickname inspired by Where the Wild Things Are. 

Today, we'll be doing another Very Hungry Caterpillar Food Drive. We did our first one for Eric Carle's birthday last June and called it a Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive and loved hearing that the virtual part worked, as others were inspired by our online shares and also did VHC-inspired food drives.

P.S. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive post 
also features 40+ Activities Inspired by the Book, so you'll definitely want to check it out.
For our VHC-inspired food drive this time, Wild Thing will be helping me write the grocery list for food items to donate as we read the boo…

{A Season of Giving} 12 Days of Christmas: Celebrating through Giving

Stacy (the Great) of Kids Stuff World brought to my attention the 31 Days of Service/Giving Calender (and great e-book) from Mom It Forward. 

Having gotten to know Stacy really well through our joint Moms Fighting Hunger effort during Hunger Action Month, I was all too happen to jump on board and take on 12 Days of Christmas, the action prompt for Dec. 4th.


The e-book describes the prompt in this way:
Choose another family in your area to be the recipient of 12 days of gift giving. Try to think of a family that may be struggling financially, emotionally, or with health problems and might need a boost during the holiday season.E ach day, starting December 13, leave a gift anonymously on the doorstep of your chosen family. Involve the kiddos in your secret acts of service. Your gifts can relate to the “12 Days of Christmas” song verses (i.e. partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, etc.) but it’s not necessary. Try to choose or provide handmade gifts, drawings or tre…

Happy Birthday, Eric Carle~We're Doing a Very Hungry Caterpillar Virtual Food Drive to Help Very Hungry Kids! Join Us!!

Summer is officially here (for half of the world anyway). For many of us, school was out well before the First Day of Summer/Summer Solstice on June 21st. While summer means beaches, pools and vacation for many families, it also means increased food insecurity for others. Food budgets increase for almost everyone in the summer, and families that rely on free and reduced school lunches struggle with the loss of these much needed meals (many schools also provide breakfast to children as well and for many children, their only meals are the ones they eat at school). For some reason, thoughts of the summer struggle against hunger surged to the forefront of my brain every time I read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, or overheard Wild Thing reading it to himself or his father or brother (he has the whole book memorized). 

Finally, it came together, that caterpillar who is so very hungry and needs all of those food items in order to become a beautiful butterfly made me think of all o…