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How to encourage a caring environment in the home between siblings

Michele Borba, EdD, is an internationally renowned educational consultant and recipient of the National Educator Award. She has presented workshops to more than 750,000 participants worldwide. She is the award-winning author of 20 books ...

sibling harmony

Boredom and bad weather can increase the negative behavior sibling's exhibit toward one another. We can encourage a caring environment in the home by sensitizing our children to the feelings and thoughts of others. The following ideas are from No More Misbehavin': 38 Difficult Behaviors and How to Stop Them by Michele Borba, EdD. They're just a few of the dozens of ways you can encourage your child to respect and care for everyone at home.

Sibling group

Make a family care covenant to stamp out uncaring words and deeds

To be effective it must be consistently enforced.

  1. Identify uncaring behavior and do not allow it. For example, when a child makes a negative, uncaring comment, bashes or criticizes someone, he must turn it around with a positive statement, orally or written.
  2. Make it a goal to "build up" each other instead of "put down."
  3. Spell out in writing what uncaring words and gestures are not permitted in your family.
  4. Involve all members; make suggestions for enforcement of the rules.
  5. Have all members sign it and post it.
  6. Keep a large glass jar where anyone who says a put-down or other negative comment must "pay for it."
  7. Post a list of chores that a child can do if he is short of money.
  8. When the jar fills up, take it to your favorite charity.

Harmony building activity

Charity begins at home. Create Caring Coupon Books to encourage acts of caring and service. Kids can do chores for one another, read to one another, share a special toy, allow their sibling choose the TV show or music in the car or practice a sport or play a game with the recipient.

  1. Have each child choose a family member to give the coupon book.
  2. Cut paper into 4' x 8' strips.
  3. On the top of each page write "Because I care about you, I will" followed by a caring chore.
  4. Illustrate it and make a cover.
  5. Staple sides together.
  6. Deliver to the lucky recipient.

By establishing an environment where children's empathy is nurtured by treating one another with respect and caring deeds, your summer "camping-in" experience will be more loving and peaceful!

One more tip for camping in -- don't forget manners! "A kind heart and kind manners mean you don't hurt feelings and you make other people feel good. The heart of manners is caring about the other person. Kind manners and good behavior makes one feel good about oneself and a stronger sense of self. Consideration of others at home makes people want to be around you.

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