“If you’re making each other mad, why don’t you just separate?!”
“Why are you guys on top of each other ALL THE TIME?”
“Just stay away from each other if you keep fighting!”
I know I am not the only one who feels like I am repeating the same questions and statements 8,955 times a day. We are having a whole lot of togetherness and family time about now, right? There are parts of the day where I think how wonderful it is that we are able to spend all this uninterrupted time together. There are other parts of the day where I’d bet my last dollar we are going to implode.
We are all navigating a new, unfamiliar routine. Every family is in a different situation right now. My husband and I are fortunate to both still have our jobs. I am now working from home full-time and he is still going to his workplace every day because the state deemed it essential. The home daycare we’ve gone to for seven years is still open, so our two daughters can go there. So while my husband and I get some time to ourselves, our daughters do not. They are ALWAYS TOGETHER and we are quickly realizing how different that is for them. Normally, my seven year old, Mia, goes to her first grade classroom at school and my four year old, Reese, goes to daycare and attends Pre-K three mornings a week. Mia also does after-school care at her school three days a week. They normally have time apart, then tend to play very well together when they are reunited. Needless to say, more bickering, arguing and straight up fighting has ensued since the stay-at-home order started.
So we’ve switched up our strategy a bit. I thought I would share in case it might help any other squabbling siblings. We have basically just started separating them, so they can do something “special” with just one parent. For example, when we had nice weather, one parent took the backyard and the other parent took the front yard. I took Reese into the backyard for a picnic complete with special treats. Then we played with kinetic sand for what felt like forever. She had my undivided attention and did not have her sister around to compete with. My husband took Mia out front and they went on a bike ride. It was just the two of them, so they could go faster and farther than if we were all trying to stick together. They then decided to build a bike ramp together. The bottom line is they both got solo time with just one parent. It was a break for them and for us, quite honestly. I always read and see posts from parents who do solo kid dates and I am now realizing how valuable that can be. We can sometimes forget how unique and fun they are apart, as well as together.
We have separated siblings for other small things as well, like bath time. We are lucky to have more than one bathroom, so we can split them up from time to time. Separate bed times are the norm for us anyway, but that is another opportunity for the kids to get focused attention from us.
The idea to separate the sisters has not been a magic bullet that has ended the fighting. Trust me, we are still acing that course every single day. But it has made us more aware that our kids, like us, just need some dang space every once in awhile.
What is working for you all when it comes to giving everyone some breathing room?