Games to Teach Kids to Respect Siblings

by Erica Loop

    When your teens trash talk each other, your preschooler pulls her brother's hair or your twins can't stop taking each other's toys, using a game to teach your kids about respecting their siblings may help to alleviate some of your family's issues. Instead of yelling, punishing or doling out harsh discipline, try a fun-filled game activity that puts your kids' behaviors into perspective and helps them to learn a more appropriate way to treat each other.

    Individuality

    According to the child development experts at the KidsHealth website, your childrens' individual personalities and temperaments can cause an inability to get along without friction. Instead of just giving up and letting the kids bicker when they don't agree or one child disrespects another due to a clash of personalities, help your children to better understand that everyone is special and unique. Have each child make a list of the positive, and negative, qualities that they see in the others. Ask your kids to read the lists to each other, and then compare and contrast the personality traits. This game can help your kids to see what they have in common and that their differences shouldn't always equate negative feelings.

    Role Play

    If one or more of your children doesn't seem to respect his siblings, help to show him the consequences of his behaviors during a role-playing game. If one child feels particularly disrespected or hurt by the other, set up a role-playing game in which the kids reverse their characters. For example, if your daughter constantly tells her younger brother to "shut up," have them play each other's part to show your disrespectful child how much her words can hurt.

    Family Courtroom

    The American Academy of Pediatrics, on their HealthyChildren.org website, suggests that you allow siblings to work out differences on their own with minimal intervention. If one of the kids feels disrespected by another, set up a family courtroom in which the siblings can act out their own mock trial. Instead of having lawyers, let each child play their own counsel and present their sides to each other. While in its most basic form this is truly a discussion, adding in the "courtroom" element can turn a conversation into a fun-filled game.

    Cooperative Games

    Disrespect may result from a competitive nature or the feeling that one child is going up against another. Instead of allowing the competitiveness to continue, try a cooperative game that encourages teamwork. When your kids squabble over who spilled the milk on the family room floor, stage a timed clean-up game in which they have to work together to remove the mess before a buzzer goes off. If you don't want to wait for a problematic situation to arise, try team-building games such as a backyard relay race -- with parents vs. kids -- to get the cooperation started.

    About the Author

    Erica Loop is an arts educator, parenting blogger and writer. She has been freelancing since 2010 and writes mostly child development and kids' activity content. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

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