It can be frustrating for older kids when younger siblings disrupt their play. Have toys/activities for different ages and abilities. Sort out some special toys that they don’t have to share.
Differences in your children’s personalities can increase fighting. Exploring their individual temperaments might help you understand their behaviour better and find ways you can help to work out their differences. Read more about temperament.
Be even with praise and attention and try not to compare your kids - especially in front of them. This will only increase resentment and make them more likely to fight. Look for opportunities to praise and encourage their co-operative play.
Time for some kai? Hungry kids can be aggro kids.
Are they tired? Younger kids may need a nap. Older kids might need downtime, read them a story.
Are they bored? Have they had one-on-one time with you today? What have you played together?
Invite some other same aged kids to come over to play.
You don’t need heaps of things but have enough activities/toys to cater for their individual developmental needs. Activities like play dough, water-play, sand pits helps them play alongside each other. Chalk, crayons, and craft activities can cater for individual creativity and skills within the same activity.
When kids argue, it’s best to give them a chance to sort it out themselves. So wait a few minutes and listen to see if the problem is resolving itself. Listen and watch discretely to see what is going on. If they do sort it out themselves, tell them they did well. Praise older siblings for making allowances for younger ones – try and give them extra attention when you can in recognition.
If they keep fighting, don’t try and find out who started it. Ask them for their ideas for how to solve the problem. Help them decide – eg choose three crayons each. Set a timer to help them with taking turns.
If the fighting keeps happening, give them a warning that they’ll need to play separately if it happens again. If it does act quickly. Calmly and firmly ask them what they each want to do next -as long as it’s not together. Acting on your warnings shows them you will always follow through.
You don’t have to always be part of their play, but sometimes investing 15 minutes at the start of an activity can encourage them to play together better without you. Time playing together with them allows you to model skills like negotiation and turn taking.
Over it? Use your phone timer to set a time limit for a play activity – your full attention for five minutes is better than half pai for longer.
Had enough? You may feel like you need alcohol or drugs to relax – but they often make the situation worse, especially when you have to deal with kids. Who could help you cut down or cut it out?