Has the reality of summer set in? Maybe the novelty has sort of worn off, and everyone’s kind of settled into their norm for the summer? Perhaps attitudes are not where you wish they were, and maybe your kids are just constantly feeling bored, or just constantly arguing, and you’re already ready for a change of some sort.
I want to help you learn how to teach your kids how to manage their own boredom, and how to get along with their siblings.
Now, before we get started, I think it’s so important to remind you that if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. And why I think this is so important is because so often I feel like we neglect to plan things like our schedule for our children, we neglect to plan self-care. There are so many things that we fail to note that we fail to plan. So that’s my first tip for you guys is to remember that without a plan you’re planning to fail.
Tip #1: Make A Plan
I want to teach you how to help plan and teach your children how to make a plan. So right now, we’re in the summer and I think it’s so important that our kids have structure.
So, I time block out each part of the day, just as a guide. Obviously, we can change our minds at any time, but I really want to have a plan in place that I can fall back on just in case.
So, what I’ve done is created a schedule that starts with breakfast. So, between 7 and 8, we planned to have breakfast and just lounge. Then between 8-8:45, we do special time and together time.
I want you to think about special time as a preventative measure. I think it is so important that you are giving individual attention to each of your kids. So, after they each have 10 minutes of special time, I want you to do together time. That means that you’re doing an activity with you and all of your children together.
I typically like to do a together time activity for roughly 20 to 30 minutes, just depending on how much time we have, but obviously the longer, the better. So when you’re front-loading connection with your children and you’re giving them attention right out of the gate, first thing in the morning, they are going to give you a lot more focused work time and a lot more obedience and just being more cordial when you ask them to do things. So, this is a huge, huge benefit to both you and your child.
I think it’s so important that you leave time in your schedule to connect as a family. So, my husband works very long hours, so when he gets home from work, I want to be sure that we have time to hang out together with him. So, our family activity usually consists of a game of some sort; some of our favorites so far are Ticket to Ride. We also love Catan, the junior version, and then UNO attack has been a new favorite, we also love Sleeping Queens. So those are just a few of the games that we play during our family activity and then our kids start their bedtime routine at 7:00 PM.
Tip #2: Brainstorm Ideas With Your Children
Okay, so tip number 2 is going to be to brainstorm ideas with your children and get their input. I have a great reference template that I will include in the show notes, and you can grab it also by visiting thepurposegathering.com/brainstorm , and it’s a great tool for you to print off and use with your children. So, I’m going to walk you through how to use this brainstorm template and exactly what to do.
So, this template is going to have four large rectangles at the top. So, I want you to sit down with your children, take about 20 minutes out of your day and decide where are four areas in your home or outside that your kids can play. So, for our family, we decided they could play outside, they could play in their playroom. We have a lot of family time in the kitchen and they do a lot of independent play there. So that’s one of our areas. And then they also have their own room.
So now what you do now that you have your four rooms is you break those rooms down into four subcategories. And these are different types of activities that they could do within each location. So, for instance, if we talk about outside time with my kids, there are four different things that they could do. They could do water related activities; they could do sports related activities. They could go to the park or they could do activities. So, you’re going to do that for each of your four locations and then you’re going to take each of those four subcategories and you’re going to break them down even further into five, very specific activities or games or things that they could do related to that location.
And what I recommend you do with this when you’re done is to either laminate it or put it in a sheet protector, which is what I do. And then you can post it around your house. That way, when your kids are bored, they have a reference sheet. And you’re going to have to train your kids, they’re going to still come to you and say, I’m bored Mom, what do I do? And you’re just going to reference that and say, hey guys, why don’t you check out the brainstorm template? I mean, don’t call it that, call it whatever you want to, go check out the brainstorm list. Where’s your idea list? Whatever you want to call it and make sure that they are taking ownership of what to do when they’re bored.
Another idea that I have for you guys is to create days that are themed with your kids. Right now, in Arizona, it’s still summer. And many of you listening, it’s still summer, but in case you’re listening to this after summer, I think it’s still so relevant. Something like on the weekends, you guys can have a theme day that your kids look forward to something like a movie day or a pool day or pajama day, where they stay in their pajamas all day.
Another way to break up the day and to help fight boredom is to meet up with friends as often as possible, especially as your kids get older. It’s so nice to be able to have their friends come over and play. It’s great for them and it’s also great for you. It gives you a break, it allows you to do some household things or just some things that you maybe want to do for yourself.
I also think it’s really important to foster creativity in your children. So, if you don’t already have a space in your home that’s all about creativity, I encourage you to create one in our home.
Another thing that I utilize a lot is listening to podcasts in the car that are kids podcasts. Now I hear from a lot of listeners that you guys didn’t even realize they made kid podcasts. There are so many, a few of my favorites are Story Pirates. That’s actually my kid’s absolute favorite right now. There’s also one called Stories Podcast and then there is a podcast called Big Life Journal podcast. It’s a really great way for them to imagine and listen, and it really keeps them from fighting. So, I recommend it. If you haven’t already, get on the podcast train for your kids.
Tip #3: Foster Sibling Bonding
Wouldn’t it just be great if they would play together all the time and you could just do your own thing? Well, it’s not always that pretty picture that we hope for and so I want to give you just some insight into why kids fight. So, the first reason why they fight is they are fighting for attention.
So, like I mentioned before, if you give them that focused one-on-one attention, they’re not going to feel the need to fight as often because you’ve already given them your attention. When things aren’t fair or they feel mistreated, they will argue with their sibling. They also fight when they feel superior or inferior to another sibling. And last but not least, they maybe haven’t had enough time to practice conflict resolution with adult support. So those are some reasons of why kids fight.
So now I want to give you some ideas about how to prevent it. How can you be proactive here? So, number one, we mentioned this before, give them positive attention as early in the day as possible, create family rules for how to make things fair, eliminate competition completely and avoid comparing.
Now, this is a big one, so I think so often parents feel like, Hey, you know, if I just encourage one kid over here to do better by showing the example of the older kid, I’m doing a good job right? Well, what that does is it automatically shows to the one who maybe isn’t told enough, or maybe isn’t competent enough, it shows them that they are inferior to their siblings. And so, they grow up feeling like they have to act out in order to show some type of superiority. So, what I recommend is never pitting your children against each other. If you’re going to do some type of competition, always make it kids against the adults or something like beat the clock that works really well with my son.
There’s always going to be someone who wins and there’s always going to be someone who loses. And what does the kid that wins feel? They feel on top of the world, they’re like, I’m the best. They’re probably going around gloating while the one who lost feels angry, he’s he or she is probably going to throw something yellow, break down and cry. I mean, there’s just so many emotions that go into losing and it’s just something that I think should stay out of the home. There’s enough competition out in the world and especially with sports that we don’t need to make our home a competition.
Conflict Resolution Skills
This is super important to do when everybody is calm, because if you’re trying to teach your children resolution skills in a heated argument, it’s not going to work. They’re not going to hear you and they’re not going to want to listen.
So, I recommend waiting till everything’s calm, nobody’s in a heated argument and just talk to them.
You need to take time to teach your kids conflict resolution. Also having them model this with stuffed animals and say, Hey, this bear over here took the snake’s doll. What do you think we should do? And have your kids act out as if they were real people and it just makes it more fun and it takes the heated part out of it when you’re using stuffed animals.
Handling Conflict with Confidence
Okay, now let’s talk about how to handle conflict with confidence. So, remember the goal is not to eliminate the conflict, but it’s to facilitate a peaceful resolution. So, I want you to keep in mind that it’s not whose fault is it okay, there’s no to blame. It’s really just, okay let’s assess the situation what’s going on and what can I ask? What kind of open-ended questions can I ask? Something like what’s going on in here or how can I help? Timing is also everything, so I want you to know when to get involved; don’t step into soon, but also don’t wait too late.
So, if your kids are having a really rough time lately and you just hear them bickering and fighting all the time, you’re going to need to situate yourself right in the same room as them. And you’re going to have to keep your ear on them and you’re going to have to listen when things start to get a little escalated.
Now, again, don’t jump in too soon and solve all their problems but when you hear that it’s getting heated that’s when you step in and say, what’s going on in here? How can I help? Is there something I can do to help you both? Something like that, so you’re asking an open-ended question. You’re not going into the room saying what’s going on in here? What happened? See the difference in tone? So, you’re going in with an attitude of wanting to help instead of an attitude with wanting to just end the disagreement.
And then you’re just going to avoid taking sides, avoid punishing, and just start with the basics. Okay, I see that you’re upset because of this, is that right? So, repeat back what you just heard each of the siblings say, and let them try to come up with a compromise. Sometimes there’s missing information that they need to know. Maybe they didn’t understand the perspective of their sibling, but now that everybody has heard each other side now is a really good time to start asking children for compromises and suggestions about how they can move on from this disagreement.
How to Foster Sibling Bonding
There just a few things that I want to share with you, but I encourage sibling time with my children every single day. And this, you might have to start with 10 minutes and work your way up, but eventually the goal is to have your siblings, your children playing together for sibling time for 30 minutes per day. And this could be a game that they play; maybe they go play outside in the backyard together. Maybe they go upstairs in one of their rooms and play something, this is really just a great way for them to bond. So, let them know that they’re going to have some sibling time every single day.
I also love having my children creating routines and traditions together. You can do this too by creating routines and traditions for your kiddos. So having a bedtime routine that includes your kiddos together, so maybe they read together. They always say good night and give each other a hug.
Let your kids come up with special traditions. My kids came up with this idea that they wanted to do a nocturnal night where they would stay up all night and play games together in their room and they created a whole plan. And so I let them do it. Did they stay up all night? No. But I told them they could.
if you are not yet a part of our free Facebook community called the organized mom photographer, I would love to invite you to join us there, we dive deeper into the podcast episodes where you can ask specific questions, share specific scenarios that are going on with your family and with your kiddos. And I would be happy to jump in and share my insight what’s worked for me and just give you my tips and my thoughts about what’s going on.
Quotes to Note:
“If you fail to plan for your summer, then you plan to fail.”
“Sometimes just changing up where you do something can be so impactful.”
“I think it’s really important that we prevent sibling rivalry before it happens. And there are things that we can do to prevent it.”
“When kids feel loved, and they feel seen, heard validated and important, they want to please you, they will do what you ask because they care about you.”
“Remember that your goal is not to eliminate the conflict. It’s to facilitate a peaceful resolution.”
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