main banner

How-To-Encourage-Peace-Between-Your-Kids-At-Christmas

How To Encourage Peace Between Your Kids At Christmas

After months of planning what gifts you’re going to give this Christmas, you finally get to share Christmas day with your family.

But what if the wonderful presents your children receive leads to sibling jealousy, rather than Goodwill and peace on earth?

Here are some handy tips to keep the peace in your home:

Signs of Christmas Present Jealousy 

The signs of jealousy over Christmas Presents are dependent on the age of your children. Little ones (who don’t necessarily understand the concept of not everything being for them!) might just grab things out of their older siblings hands, which can lead to a tug of war. Older children, meanwhile, might react with arguments, moodiness, whining, or tears.

A certain level of jealousy is completely normal, as children learn to ‘protect their territory’ and often compare what they have to what others have. In fact, feeling jealousy is an important part of growing up, as children need to learn how to deal with these types of feeling, and develop healthy strategies to cope as they grow up.

Keep Calm, and Carry On

It can be incredibly frustrating when all your dreams of the perfect Christmas are interrupted by squabbling and fighting, particularly if it’s a regular occurrence in your household. But when your children are arguing, adding your own stress to the situation will only raise the tension. Take a moment for a few deep breaths, and focus on finding out what is wrong, and helping them to resolve it; rather than getting swept up in the excitement. It’s a challenge, but we promise it will be worth it.

Avoid Taking Sides

Even if you have very firm suspicions, or have one little monkey who often instigates arguments more than the others, it’s vital not to take sides unless one child has clearly provoked another.

If there’s an opportunity to offer distraction in order to diffuse a situation, this can be a great way to calm things down quickly. Otherwise, try to instil a sense of calm and either try to speak to them together and discuss how you’re going to solve the situation, or demonstrate consequences that affect both sides, not just one. Use phrases such as ‘sharing is caring’ or ‘we treat everyone with respect/gentleness in this family’ rather than being too accusatory.

Give some space

If they need time away from each other, that’s understandable: We all need a bit of space sometimes. But if they share a room make sure they both go to neutral spaces rather than sending one to their bedroom. The most powerful buffer against sibling rivalry is to ensure that your child feels equal to other members of the family, and valued as a person in his/her own right. Often jealousy toward siblings or the gifts they receive is a perception that they are less valued. So ensure that everyone receives the space they need, and enough one-to-one attention.

Treat Christmas as a learning opportunity

With everyone receiving presents, having to wait their turn, and having extra responsibilities around the house, Christmas is a great time to teach children about patience, acceptance, sharing, and coping with difficult feelings. There may be a lot going on, but there’s also a lot of reward with great family films, festive outings, and treats; so you might as well make the most of them so your children learn to appreciate and celebrate the season and everything they have.

  • Before – the run-up to Christmas is a great time to learn about patience, and managing expectation that they may not receive exactly what was on the list for Santa. After all, he often knows what would suit children even better than what they request!

  • During – Christmas day is a great time to practice sharing, as the whole family shows each other what presents they received, and allows others to have a look. It’s also a time to be aware of good manners like saying thank you, helping, and asking permission to play with someone else’s toys. It’s also a time to learn how to cope with feelings like jealousy and disappointment if they get presents that weren’t on the list, or they have to wait their turn to play with a sibling’s toy.

  • After – What better time to really learn about being grateful and appreciating the lovely holiday and the presents received? Whenever children are getting jealous of what others have, remind them how great their gifts are too, and teach them about how other people might not have much at all (in an age-appropriate way, like donating old toys, or taking part in charity events.)
    A great way to encourage gratitude is to ensure that you and all the adults to be vocal about their own appreciation and what they have enjoyed over Christmas. Older children could also write thank you cards to any relatives who weren’t there when they opened their presents, to tell them all about the holiday.

Praise good behaviour

Make sure you compliment good behaviour such as when your little ones play nicely together, do great sharing, and do things to help you or the rest of the family. Everyone loves being praised, so the more they are aware of the joy (and the praise) involved with positive behaviour, the more they’ll want to do it.

Spend quality time together

What is Christmas for, if not spending time with the people you love? Spending quality time as a family, and allowing your children to spend really positive time together, helps to build or strengthen relationships that can last a lifetime. Why not let your little ones pick some of the activities they do? And make sure there is plenty of activity involved over the holidays so their brains and bodies are engaged, and they don’t feel ‘cabin fever’ being stuck at home: Though activities like swimming or ice skating can be fun, you don’t have to spend much. Check out local centres, or even just go for exploratory walks, letting your little ones be involved in what direction you go in.

We know that lots of families have difficulties: Remember, we all have our flaws and our challenges. If you are no longer with your children’s other parent, or there are tensions within the family; we’re not pretending that it’s always one big happy family, and you don’t need to love each other. But particularly at this time of year, just finding a way to work together in a positive way can show your little ones that even the hardest challenges can be worked through.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas ... it's not always as perfect as you hope, but that's ok too! 


About the Author

Emily is our Digital Editor. She has three awesome nieces, and has accidentally worn the same outfit as them on at least one occasion. Emily likes making things, including hand-drawn cards, and a darn good chocolate cake. She still sounds very English, despite living in Dublin for the last nine years. More insight into the workings of her brain can be found on dancingcakesandsilence.blogspot.com.

Comments

Please login to leave a comment.