How to foster sibling bonding?

Someone once told me that the best gift I could ever give my daughter is a sibling….

super excited sisters

I could not agree more!!

It has been such a blessing to watch my two girls grow together and create an unbreakable bond. Coming from a childhood with undeniably strong sibling relationships that have now grown into adult relationships with my siblings that are even stronger, I know how special and important a sibling bond can be.  I knew that I wanted that for my children also.

Responsibly, there are MANY things to consider prior to growing your family. Very important things such as timing, finances, childcare, lifestyle, and wether or not having a child is a commitment you are willing to make. It is a HUGE decision that is life altering, yet it is the most rewarding thing to be a parent. Your heart will grow and love more than you ever thought possible. While making the decision to have one child is no small feat, making the decision to have a  second, or a third child is no less. There are still many things to consider prior to making the decision to have more children.

There are both pros and cons (finances come to mind) to gifting a sibling to your child. The many, many, positives and possible lifelong opportunities of having a sibling outweigh the negative substantially.

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Let’s start with what having a sibling will create for your first little one.

So say you and your partner have made that decision to give your child a sibling…. you may be wondering what is at stake? In what way will this affect my first child? How will he/she take to having a sibling? What if they don’t love each other? Is this the right decision for my family? How can I, as the parent, foster a healthy sibling relationships?

Well, to start with #growingupwithsiblings allow your child to constantly practice life long skills and place them in situations that otherwise may be dependent upon outside opportunities and circumstances not always applicable or granted. Siblings provide your child with their first peer group. This is where they will learn social skills and how to manage conflict. Sibling relationships also develop critically IMPORTANT and POWERFUL roles that will serve them well over the course of their lifetime.

happy screaming kids sisters giving sass

As parents, we may often worry when our children fight, argue, make mistakes, or misbehave. This is natural AND normal. 

Something to remember from the Parenting with Love and Logic toolkit…”The road to wisdom is paved with mistakes.”

You may wonder how much fighting is “too much” fighting. Think of these fighting moments as learning opportunities for your children… the will learn how to negotiate, how to play, how to share, how to be a companion and it will ultimately influence who they become as adults.

Parenting tips to help foster healthy and strong sibling relationships:

  • notice activities that get your children to play together
  • promote those activities that they can do together
  • don’t interrupt happy play- when they are playing well #letthembe
  • induce oxytocin into their play with laughter, being outdoors, dancing (we love a good dance party), singing, being goofy, family board games
  • designate a block of time each day for your children to play together
  • Include in the bedtime routine a chance for your children to say goodnight and I love you to each other (we do goodnight kisses and hugs)
  • support nurturing of one another if someone gets hurt or needs help😚

Scared of “sibling rivalry”?

Sibling rivalry is a real thing. It can be seen as jealousy, fighting, teasing, competition, disagreements or more. It can show up in many ways and it is important to watch and take notice of any rivalry cues as early as possible to intervene with strategies. Some potential influencers of rivalry may be birth order, jealousy over parents or toys,  a child’s personality, or insecure parental attachments. It could also be something a little more temporary such as being tired, not feeling well, or trying to get the parents attention.

mad face little girls

Always take into consideration what the root of the cause of the rivalry is prior to trying to reduce or eliminate it. It could also be that they just need a little space. Just like adults, children are their own individuals too and sometimes just need a little time to themselves. This is good for the development as well. “Boredom” leads to creativity and the building of the imagination. Give your child some space and alone time and you will be amazed at how well they can transition into play with their sibling after.

Reduce or eliminate rivalry

There are things that you can do to prevent or reduce sibling rivalry such as spending one on one time with each child to secure the parental attachment.  It is important that your child knows that they are loved unconditionally whether another baby comes along, or not. This will directly impact their lives and relationships with anyone in their future.

Another important note it not to compare your children. That goes for not comparing them to each other just as well as to your friends children. Each child is different and unique requiring their own special doses of love and discipline. Do what works best for you and each child. No one child will need or want the same things. Parenting is no “one size fits all” experience.

Comment below or find me on Instagram and let me know… Which of these do your children do? Which tip will you try to encourage in your children? How have your sibling relationships influenced your life? Was this helpful?

Parenting Style

 Mommin’ ain’t easy… parenting ain’t easy. The doctor doesn’t hand your child off to you accompanied with ahandbook on the day they are born. Parenting is truly an experience. It’s a constant trial and error experiment, andsomehow it always seems as if once you feel like you’ve got a grasp on things the dynamic changes and your working through a new phase, a new challenge, or a new chapter whether its an exciting one or not so exciting. At any rate, parenting sure has a way of taking your breath away in all ways possible. It is one of the most rewarding experiences yet has its moments of truly bringing you to your knees.


Insert Parenting the Love and Logic way.

Love and Logic parenting tools allow you to foster independence in your child through empathy and setting limits for children of all ages. One of the biggest questions I get from parents interested in Love and Logic is, “is it too late for me to start?” or “Are we too far gone for this to work?” and the answer is NO. It is NEVER too late. Starting later may mean that there will be habits to break and it may take some time, and it may even get worse before it gets better, BUT it is never too late.

Regardless of when you start with parenting the love and logic way you will see a difference in the way in which you look at the things that your children do to make you red in the face. For me, that was the first thing I noticed. I started to look at the misbehaviors as opportunities to model empathy, set and enforce limits, teach responsibility, and build a lasting relationship based on trust and unconditional love.

Loving relationships give consequences their powerLove and Logic parenting is based on the foundation of relationships.

It is important to note that none of this works without relationships. I think that is what I love so much out Love and Logic. Before, I felt that I was either always either being a nag, or the “bad guy,” or a total pushover. I was struggling with the concept of encouraging my children to grow yet discipline them. Love and Logic techniques allow you to discipline your children without losing love along the way. THIS IS SO POWERFUL! And quite frankly, exactly what I needed!

On the other hand, your children may feel confused or even frustrated with your new approach to parenting. They may be confused as to your reactions or also frustrated by the fact that you will not fall into the trap of arguing with them. This all will pass and eventually they will learn your new tactics.

Here are a few steps to get you started on your path to parenting the Love and Logic way:Parenting the Love and Logic WayGo Brain Dead!

Yes, you heard that right! You might be thinking, “What in the world is this all about? How can I make an impact by going brain dead?”  When you go brain dead, you aren’t thinking of words to say back to your child. When you don’t use words, you ridof the opportunity for your children to argue with you.

Neutralize arguing!

As hard as it is, do NOT engage with your child when they are trying to argue with you. You can do this by saying your version of a Love and Logic one-liner. My go to is: “ohhhhhh, this is so sad.” I like to drag that “ohhhhhhhh” out and use a low voice. This works two-fold. It allows me a moment to stay calm and it also signals to my child that you are empathetic to their situation but that a consequence is also to follow.

repeat your one liner with empathy rather than anger or sarcasm

One of the most challenging parts to master when transitioning to parenting the love and logic way is showing empathy. When you are frustrated or even angry with your child, IT IS SO HARD to be empathic when using your one-liner. It is VERY easy to let your empathy be masked by sarcasm. So, be forewarned, this WILL take some practice. Remember, parenting is all about experimentation… you will honestly go through the experiences of good and bad and some days may go smoother than others. Don’t get discouraged. You are not alone.

hands holding family

Are you interested in more?

Kristen Baisden and I will be co-facilitating a series in April in Roseville, California. It is a five-week course on Monday evenings. We would love to see you there. If this does not work you, you can also visit Love and Logic Institute and look up your local Love and Logic Facilitator and class dates.

The Love and Logic approach is practical and fun. I’d love to hear how these first steps work for you. Send me a message or contact me via Instagram and let me know!

Instagram screenshot

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Read Across America 2019

Read Across America Day

read across america 2019

Dr. Seuss Day, also known as Read Across America Day, is here! This is a day the NEA (National Education Association) celebrates yearly to call all readers to action on Dr. Seuss’s birthday.

The American poet, Dr. Seuss, has written over 64 books that are sure to be a childhood favorite. These wonderfully creative and captivating books are celebrated on this day.  Another great way to acknowledge Dr. Seuss, and reading, in schools is to create a week of fun dress up days that correlate with the titles and themes of his many books. This will surely get students in schools excited and engaged! I mean, who doesn’t love a dress-up day?  At my school, this week we started with pajama day to channel the theme from The Sleep book. Since, if I’m being honest, I don’t really like PJ day so without a doubt I participated by sporting some cozy adidas sweatpants and represented our new home team, Dixie State Trailblazers. Sweatpants and yogas is where it’s at for me!

Sneetches book, If I ran a Zoo bookgreen eggs and ham bookoh the places you'll go bookthe cat in the hat book

Other fun dress up ideas are crazy sock day for Fox in Socks, wear green for the obvious Green Eggs and Ham, twin day for Thing 1 and Thing 2 characters in The cat in the Hat, and one of my personal favorites is to wear your favorite or dream college’s shirt or jersey for Oh, The Places You’ll Go.

Teachers and staff can get into the theme by also decorating a classroom door with a Dr. Suess title! This year, I decorated mine with a large Hat with birthday candles and the following quote:

you are you quote

I also always LOVE to have guest readers come in during this week to read Dr. Seuss books to my students. It is really fun to tell the students that there is a “Mystery Reader” coming to class to read. You can give them clues throughout the day as to who it is to build up the suspense. Such a fun, engaging, and memorable event to celebrate with your students of ALL ages.

We all know how much teachers love a graphic t-shirt. Furthermore, Read Across America Day, or week, is a great excuse to opt out of your typical work day clothing and instead wear a comfy t-shirt and jeans to spread the  love of reading message. I mean, this is right up my ally! I highly suggest a quick browse through Amazon’s collection of Dr. Seuss and Read Across America themed t-shirts to help honor the cause.

Most educators and especially early readers are fascinated with Dr. Seuss because of his magical way of telling stories and making the gift of reading nothing but blissful. His play with words is a fun way to teach life long lessons for all ages. Creativity, fun, a wild imagination, inspiration, and pure joy captures the hearts of anyone who reads his stories. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes should join in on the fun of Read Across America.  If it’s been a while since you’ve read one of Dr. Seuss’s stories, I highly suggest you take a gander through one over the next couple days. It’s sure to bring a smile to your face! Promise!

NEA’s Read Across America Video

Visit Marissa Almond’s Instagram for more fun on teaching, parenting and Love and Logic.

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