Inside: Want your kids to be kinder to each other rather than compete with each other? Turn them into teammates and have them play this one game to increase sibling kindness.
We had just moved into our new home and the stack of boxes and paper had gotten completely out of control. They were piled into the dining room from floor to ceiling but had since been creeping out into the entryway of the house. Staring at what should be a room in our house was overwhelming.
We found someone who was ready and willing to come take all of these boxes and reuse them, but they were coming the next day.
So we challenged our kids to work together to tear down the 100+boxes still left, stack them, and then stack the wrapping paper to create an organized way to get them out of our house.
It was a lot of work. And they really, really didn’t want to do it.
But we set a timer, made it a game, and chatted as we worked together to beat the clock.
We raise our kids to be helpers…they do chores and they participate in the day to day maintenance of our home.
But they don’t love it.
So when they complain about chores, we gently remind them we don’t like doing chores either, but it still has to be done.
And we spend a lot of time talking about a strong work ethic, and how being helpful is a way to show kindness.
But we also point out that when our kids work together towards a common goal and they feel like they’re on the same team, they fight less, laugh more, and get the job done quicker.
It’s a triple win for siblings.
So we use this game to create scenarios where our kids have to use teamwork to improve their sibling relationships and raise kind siblings.
Why We Need our Kids to Be Kind to Their Siblings
We intentionally teach our kids to be kind.
But the hardest part of raising our kids to be kind, is raising kind siblings…getting our kids to be kind to each other.
Siblings often fight with each other for our affection, our time, and space in our homes.
Sibling jealousy and sibling rivalry can be hard to undo, especially if it’s been years of siblings “battling.”
One simple way parents can lessen the jealousy or rivalry is with Proof of Love Activities. They work like magic in connecting with each of our kids but also has an incredibly powerful bonus of lessening sibling nastiness, bickering, and meanness.
And because siblings tend to compete against each other, another powerful way to increase sibling kindness is to put them on the same team, working towards a common goal (even if that puts them on a team against you and your spouse).
It will unite them faster than anything.
Use this Sibling Game to Increase Kindness
Kids love to “win.”
To win this sibling game, they have to do simple, normal, everyday acts of kindness towards (and for) their siblings.
This slowly changes their habits to makes these kind acts feel more normal…which makes it easier to repeat over and over again.
1. Get started
Download and print the sibling game board and directions (download them below)
2. Explain the game to your kids and read the rules to them.
They’ll start at the Ready Set Go square and do the activity in the box together.
They are a team and must complete each square together or for some squares, they must all complete the square before moving forward.
Once they’ve completed the square, they need to let a parent know they’re ready to move forward.
Here are the super important rules:
If siblings bicker or fight over something silly (and parents get to decide what is silly), the kids must go back 1 space and redo it.
If siblings are mean or cruel on purpose, the kids must go back 2 squares and redo it.
3. Explain how to win and decide on a prize
When all the siblings get to the last square, they congratulate each other and do their sibling handshake and they earn their prize.
But here’s the thing…you want to choose a prize you all agree on, but the prize has to be highly motivating enough to push your kids to want to finish each square together.
The activities on the squares might feel hard for them and they may not want to do them.
We’re changing habits.
So choosing the right motivation is crucial.
And the prize will be the most effective if it’s a prize they enjoy together as siblings or as a family.
So instead of everyone getting a new toy, they can instead win a game they can play together.
Or instead of inviting friends over for a sleepover, you can have a family campout in the backyard.
To determine the prize, siblings can brainstorm a list of prizes.
Or you can use our pre-brainstormed list of prizes that help build a strong family identity.
4. Start playing the game.
Cheer them on. Encourage them to keep going even if it feels hard.
Remind them their relationship with their sibling is important and you’re proud of them for showing kindness to each other.
And then support them in finishing the game. Together.
When the game is over, pick a new prize, and challenge them to play the game again.
But the real prize will be kids who speak and at with kindness more often with less reminders from you.
And that’s when everyone in your house wins.
Your kids will be kinder to each other and you’ll have a more peaceful home.
It’s a true win-win.