5 Tips for Raising Caring Kids
This summer, our family went to the Grand Canyon for vacation. After seeing the marvel in our kids’ eyes at the vast beauty of this national treasure, we decided to splurge for a helicopter ride to get an aerial view of the canyon. We were all super excited to climb into the helicopter and get buckled up for our family adventure. The pilot told us where to sit based on weight distribution and my husband and I took our seat across from our two kiddos. Though we were all masked for COVID-19 precautions, you could still see the smiles and excitement on our eyes as we anxiously awaited liftoff. Suddenly, as the helicopter began to ascend, my youngest’s eye went from joyful or absolute fear. It was one of those moments as a parent that you want to immediately provide comfort and protection, but with seatbelts holding us all into place and the loud noise of the helicopter drowning out our attempts to soothe, he froze with panic.
That’s when something magical happened. His older sister, who was sitting closest to him and had been gleefully staring out the window at the disappearing ground, looked over and noticed the fear in his eyes. She instinctively reached for his hand and didn’t let go the remainder of the flight. With big sister providing support, his fear lessened and he became much more relaxed. In the end, the helicopter ride was a big hit and we were able to see so much of the scenery and beauty this landmark has to offer. However, I still think the most beautiful thing I saw that day was two kiddos who love and care for each other.
If you have kids, then you know how fleeting moments like that can be. Especially as they get older, the fighting between them can sometimes seem endless. And while it may drive us crazy, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says it’s actually quite normal and healthy for siblings to fight. However, where is the line between “normal” and “not normal”? How can we be assured that our kids will grow up and eventually get along? Here are five ways to raise kids who love and care for each other:
1. Start early – make good relationships a priority.
Make sure you teach them the importance of getting along and being kind to one another. Model that behavior yourself.
2. Teach them to have a ‘We mentality,’ not a ‘Me mentality.’
Tell your kids that they are a team. In fact, the whole family is a team. Everyone’s actions affect everyone else’s. If you remind them enough times, it will eventually sink in.
3. Demonstrate and teach positive ways to work through arguments.
First, look at yourself. How do you work through conflict with other people? Do you yell and scream or do you sit down peacefully and work out your problems in a rational manner? Hopefully it’s the latter. But if not, start working on your own conflict skills. Once you have learned how to work through arguments yourself, you can teach your kids to do the same. Sit down with them and talk them through the process. Teach them that there are positive ways to “fight.”
4. Recognize and encourage all children when one of them accomplishes something.
Make sure that you celebrate all accomplishments. Have your kids congratulate each other, too. And even if a child isn’t accomplishing as much as their sibling, you can still be positive and encourage them to try their best – and tell them that you are proud of all of them. They are all unique.
5. Model good behavior yourself.
You might want your kids to get along and love each other more, but if you are not showing them how to do it through your own actions, then they will never learn. Children model behavior more than they listen to your words.