“For Parents of Little Ones,” Friend, June 2017
As a parent, you probably don’t want to play referee within the walls of your own home. Good news—you shouldn’t have to! You’re a coach, and your children are on the same team, even if they don’t realize it yet.
As you try to coach your children instead of referee them, they will feel secure in your love and grow to love each other more.
Give your children words and phrases to use. Instead of just saying, “Use your words,” tell your children exactly which words to use. “Say, ‘I would like a turn now’” or “Say, ‘I would like to play with you.’” Little ones don’t have quick access to very many words yet, and it will take a lot of practice before they do.
Use stories. Children will like hearing about the times you learned to appreciate your brothers’ and sisters’ differences, especially if those brothers and sisters have grown into favorite uncles and aunts.
Call time outs. Coaches call players off the field to rest and regroup. With rest instead of punishment in mind, you might provide a cozy time-out space for your child, like a comfy chair.
Point out the good. When children are having fun together, make sure they notice. “I’m so grateful you have each other!” and “That was really nice of your sister to share with you. She must really love you.”