“It’s summer, and for many parents, that means the kids are home more than usual. Siblings can love each other fiercely and yet also fight ferociously — often within the same span of minutes. If they begin fighting, stay calm, loving and supportive. Use the experience as an opportunity to help them see each other’s perspective and choose a more mindful response in the face of conflict.” — Kaia Roman, author of “The Joy Plan.”
Remind yourself that conflict among siblings is normal, and even healthy. It’s how they learn to set boundaries, express desires and share not only property, but also experiences.
Take a deep breath and encourage your kids to do the same.
When the kids get settled, try a breathing exercise together: Inhale as you slowly, silently, count to four. Hold the breath to a count of four, then exhale slowly as you count to four. Then count to four before you inhale again. Repeat for a few minutes, and notice if you and the children feel differently at the end of this exercise.
Practice empathy. Try to understand why the kids are upset. With that in mind, see if you can avoid reacting too harshly or getting angry with them for fighting. Instead, try to help them understand each other’s emotions and perspective. Ask them if they can understand why the other one is upset.
Gratitude can be a powerful tool. No matter how annoying your kids are being right now, don’t forget what a precious gift they are. Ask them to say something nice about each other, too.
Turn up the music and start dancing. Mindfulness is all about bringing your attention to the present moment, including the sounds and sensations you can enjoy with your body. It’s hard for the children to fight when they’re dancing.
Kids are highly influenced by our responses. When we parents take challenges in stride, our children learn how to focus on solutions rather than feel crushed by problems.