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Two Little Instruments

on June 29 | in Parenting | by | with 26 Comments

Two Kids

Two Tunes

Played Together

Like Two Spoons

When we first told Katie I was pregnant she insisted on two things. She wanted a brother, and his name must be . . . . Olivia.

She seems to think that first part is working out okay, and I’d like to keep it that way. So here’s my question:

What can parents do to keep our kids connected to each other???

I know you have thoughts on this. Spill.

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26 Responses to Two Little Instruments

  1. In other news, I am now caught up on laundry for the first time in nine months and have forbidden my family from changing clothes for at least 48 hours :)

  2. tonya says:

    we have all the toys in a “play room” instead of each child’s room so they just go in there to play together.. we regularly catch them reading books to each other, playing dress up ( yes I have a boy too) and loving the little play kitchen and table we have in there.

    • Heather says:

      Love that your son plays dress up! Daddypotamus used to take his GI Joe’s in to play dolls with his sister. They had slightly different objectives (she wanted her dollies to marry GI Joe but they declared war instead) . . . but at least they were playing together!! :)

  3. Jaime Adams says:

    I think the number one thing is to try and make sure they don’t become competitive. I’m closest to the siblings that I don’t feel I have to compete with because we are okay being different from one another. I’m not very close with my siblings who are ultra competitive about their lives.

  4. rawkinmom says:

    When I was pregnant with my son my daughter had wanted to name him GRAPE or STRAWBERRY….the nicknames stuck and for the first year of his life we called him grape!!! LOL My kids are now 8 and 5 and they are the BEST of friends….they come up with all sorts of cool games and creative play together…they spend all day planning out intricate things….like a zoo or a carnival….they have played vacation where they pack up and make a beach with a blanket….they play school, house, store, and mystery adventures….I love watching them play so well together!!!

  5. Mae says:

    Eamon and I have mentors named Kelly and Kevin in Rockport.
    They told us that when Karissa and Cameron [about the same age difference as Micah and Katie, actually!] were little that every single night they made them give each other a hug and kiss and pray together before bed. No matter what. Kissy and Cameron happen to be THE closest siblings I know.

  6. My kids are just now getting to that stage where being friends isn’t always easy. lol. Something we’ve tried to do is teach our kids our to celebrate one another. It has really helped when it comes to birthdays, Christmas, and parties in general. They get so excited to see what the other person receives. =) We’re also big on individuality in our home to. If they don’t want to share a toy, then they can play by themselves in their room with that toy. It NEVER lasts long either! They almost always realize that it is WAY more fun to share and play with someone that to be by themselves. I’m curious to see how their relationship will grow as they get older because they are polar opposites but that’s why parenting is such an adventure!

    • Heather says:

      I’ve never heard that solution to the dilemma of sharing, but I’m definitely going to try it. Both my kids love our little grocery shopping cart (For different reasons, of course. Micah just likes to know it over and play with the wheels), so I’ll start there

      The concept of teaching kids to celebrate each other, although I’ve heard it before, is feeling a lot more applicable these days. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    • i’m loving that idea of no sharing –> alone time.

  7. ps- Can I just say that I LOVE IT when you post pictures of your kids?? lol Your kids are just so cute!!! I love it when you share them with us! =)

  8. Kathryn Lindenberger Nordyke via FB says:

    Congrats!!! My laundry room floor and I just saw each other again for the first time in a long time. We celebrated by mopping it up for the first time in FOREVER! lol

  9. I think the key is doing things together. We watch tv together, play games together, home school together. I don’t think you have to home school but it makes me sad to go to friends houses and all the kids are in their separate rooms playing video games or on the computer. Some alone time is needed by everyone but for the most part we do things together. How to keep them from fighting is a whole other issue ;)

  10. margo says:

    Those baby rolls are the cutest! And katie is so sweet with him in these pics!

  11. Vanessa Stegner via FB says:

    I love the laundry comment!

  12. dianthe says:

    at this point, they don’t have any other option! the kids share a room, they share toys, they bathe together, we sleep together (at least for now) – of course there are times that we spend time with the kids individually or have play dates with Sydney’s friends, but for the most part it’s just the 2 of them

    i purposely don’t have a lot of things that just belong to one or the other – and even if Sydney “claims” a toy, i tell her that she has to share or i can take the toy away – i will warn you that i have ended up with crayon covered couches this way, but the Magic Eraser has fast become a good friend! i also play up the “you’re the big sister” idea with Sydney and she LOVES to be the “helper” and teach Myles things – they’re great friends now and i hope it continues – and when all else fails, i resort to “go play with your brother/sister”!!

    • Heather says:

      LOL! It got eerily quiet for a few minutes yesterday so I checked on Katie playing in her room . . . the girl was covered in marker! So far the walls/couches have been safe, though. Thanks for the ideas, Dianthe!

  13. having a play room is great, they both play with eachother’s toys. they kiss and hug before bed, they both help me do stuff, and i just encourage them to “be sweet” to eachother. when somebody gets an ouchie, i tell the other one to kiss it, and it’s getting to where they just do it because they know. i’ve taught them to share their snacks in the car, say please and thank you, etc.

    i think getting some boy dress up clothes will help because julia loves to dress up and is starting to put josiah in princess dresses! he doesn’t mind, and loves trying different shoes on so this just might be a good window of opportunity to bring in something they can enjoy together!

    i really hope they grow up to be good friends =)

  14. Kirsten says:

    I don’t have tons of experience with my own kids in this area yet, but I feel like my parents did a really good job of connecting my siblings and me. They told us constantly from as early as I can remember, “You and Darin (my brother) are best friends!” We had portraits taken together, and they hung them in our rooms to remind us of our BFF status. :) At one point we kids (two girls and a boy) were struggling to get along, (maybe I was 7 or 8?) and my parents said, “well, if you can’t be friends with each other, you can’t have any other friends.” So we took a little break from “outside-of-the-family” friends. We learned to get along and like each other really quickly! ;)

    My parents also worked hard to make life into an adventure for all of us to share, whether driving across country to visit our grandparents, or going to the beach or the redwoods for a day trip, or just playing in the backyard, we did life together, and made lots of connecting memories that still bind us together to this day. Mom and Dad have an adventure-ish attitude that makes even going to Costco seem like the funnest thing ever. :)

  15. Denise Reese says:

    Heather, those pics of the kids are ADORABLE! They are getting so big! I have to agree with the other moms here and say that our playroom has been so helpful. The older two kids have learned to sleep in the same room together (which hasn’t always been easy!) and when it’s playtime everyone plays together in the playroom or downstairs. I hardly ever let anyone stay in the playroom by themselves and just encourage sharing, taking turns and helping each other. Like another mom said, I pray with them all together before bed, we read books, and I have them say goodnight to each other and hug and kiss. If they want a snack, I ask Bekah to get it out and help Noah with his. She loves being my helper and they have come to enjoy helping each other. From when they were really little, Jason and I have always told them that they have to take care of each other. If they argue or try to hit when they are mad, we have them forgive each other and hug and I (again) remind them that they are here to take care of each other. It seems to always work. I also try to come up with games and activities and stuff do to together. Even Selah gets excited to see her brother and sister and loves hugs and kisses from them. I don’t always feel like I have it all together, but so far the kids have been good at staying a “team” and it’s been so fun to be a part of!

  16. Emily Brown says:

    Heather, this is a subject very near and dear to my heart, even though it’s taken me a few days to write! :) I think teaching kids to respect one another (on top of the celebrate and encourage ideas) is one of stepping stones that need age appropriate development. One of the things I would suggest at your kiddos ages is having them “trade” toys if one of them wants the one the other has. So, Katie wants the toy Micah has, teach her to “find something else to give him”….and you can include things like, “he’s younger and has a shorter attention span, so he won’t want it long” or “can you find something else with wheels…it’s wheels he likes!”, etc. Neither one is allowed to simply take the toy away from the other, but instead through the “trading” aspect, the other one gives it up willingly. Make sense? This also starts with parents by modeling the same thing…..if our kids see us as only “taking my favorite things away” (because it’s not safe/good to play with them), they become frustrated with us. These are all little building blocks that end up making for an awesome big picture in the end.

    Anywho, we have a FB group dedicated to this topic alone….called respectful parenting. There’s less than 30 people in it right now, and we’d love to have you join us if you’re interested. :)

    • Heather says:

      Love these ideas, Emily! Some of these I have done instinctually but looking back I think I have missed a lot of opportunities to model this, especially when it comes to taking dangerous items away. The phrases you incorporate into actions are fun and playful, which I like. Just sent a request to join your FB group!!

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