Encouraging Sibling Relationships
February is a wonderful month to encourage our kids toward positive sibling relationships. As cold winter weather keeps many homeschooling families indoors, nerves become strained and tempers can flare. By recognizing the value of each family member and engaging in activities of communication, disagreements can be minimized.
A great benefit of homeschooling is the time spent together as a family. Although strong bonds can be developed, there will also be disagreement.
I will be the first to confess that my kids fight. They had disputes as toddlers and into adolescence. When my adult son is home for a visit, there are still moments of teasing and bickering with younger siblings. Children must learn to communicate and work out problems with love and respect. Who better to practice on than their siblings!?!
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, February is a great time to reset attitudes and encourage sibling connections. I’ve tried a few love themed projects over the years and have three favorites.
Each activity begins the same. Challenge your kids to define love in their own words. Once they have given their ideas, read aloud 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Discuss God’s definition of love and how it can be practiced in your family.
- Provide your children with paper hearts cut from construction paper.
- Each day encourage them to think of one thing about each of their siblings they like or identify as special. Offer suggestions if they need help getting started. (ie. I like your smile. You are a great artist. I like when you play soccer with me.)
- Using the hearts, have them write a special message for each sibling.
- Tape the hearts to the correct persons bedroom door, or other designated location, for everyone to see.
Continue adding hearts each day for a week or even the entire month. Excitement will grow as the number of encouraging hearts increase.
If your kids think they are too old for hearts on their door, make some modifications.
- Have every child write several things about each of their siblings they like or identify as special. Tell them to keep it a secret and give their list to you.
- Type a separate list for each child of the encouraging comments about them. Add some comments of your own if you like.
- Be creative. Format the document in an artistic text. Give it a title or put their name at the top. Make a list of contributors at the bottom if there are multiple siblings.
- Make a print of each child’s list. It could even be framed to hang on their wall.
- Have a Valentine treat party and give each child their list, or just quietly leave it for them to find.
Valentine Post Office
For a craftier activity, deliver letters of encouragement.
- Using shoe boxes or empty tissue boxes, have each child decorate their “mailbox.”
- Assign a location for each person’s box.
- Have everyone write a letter or draw a picture to each of their siblings. They must include something they like or identify as special about each individual.
- Each person delivers the letters they’ve written to the correct sibling’s box.
For added fun, make a main letter drop box. Assign one child to be the mail carrier. The carrier collects, sorts, and delivers all the mail. Write more letters and rotate who is assigned to be the carrier.
Too often I want to keep peace in my home by fixing problems that arise between my children. When I hear them hurting each other in disagreement, it hurts me. It is important that kids are taught to communicate and work out their differences. They must also be allowed time to practice those lessons.
While our children are developing relationship skills, they need to be reminded to value their family bond. Siblings are often the individuals we will know the longest in life.
I want my kids’ relationships with each other to be positive. A good start is helping them recognize what they enjoy about each other. Encouragement will come when they hear the positive traits their brothers and sisters see in them. As they learn to love each other, their relationships will grow deeper. I hope and pray my children have strong sibling bonds their entire lives. I will never stop encouraging them to love each other. Love never fails.
Teresa is a wife and busy homeschooling mom. With a passion for writing, she shares the adventures and lessons of her faith, family and homeschool.