It’s the middle of summer and we’ve embarked on hiking adventures, ridden bikes and ventured out under the moon for a swim or two. Most days, however, we spend indoors for the ultimate staycation. We wake up when the sunlight is too brilliant for slumber and eat brunch to fill empty stomachs. There is always a flurry of activity in the living room as I tippy toe around Littlest Pet Shops and doll houses. Remnants of sisters playing scatter across the floor, revealing how cozy we are at home.
Around this time in the season I also notice a slight change in my daughters mood. They are shorter-tempered, more irritable and less patient. They’ve invaded each other’s space one too many times and their bodies crave what we were made for – rest.
There is no space to breathe when life is piled on top of each other. While I can recognize and process the need to withdraw for refreshment, my girls are only capable of responding by snapping at each other for the most minuscule things. It’s all their body and emotions can do when they’ve been overstimulated and overextended.
It is my job to recognize when sisters are bickering because they simply need space and solitude. Rather than yell at my girls to stop yelling at each other for the hundredth time, I must usher them into the quiet places so their weary soul can rest. The next time you are tempted to tell your kids to stop fighting, respond by inviting them into the beauty of solitude:
Go on a Nature Walk: Awaken children to the wonder of God’s creation. Give them a piece of paper and watercolors and ask them to find a flower, plant or tree that is interesting. Have them study and draw it with detail. Slow them down by pointing out the curves of rose petals or the lines on each tiny leaf.
Do a Craft: Have each of your daughters spend time working on a different craft. Perhaps as one is making a collage from old magazines another is making a lanyard keychain. Getting hands to work is calming and a great way for our daughters to express themselves.
Read a Book: If your girls love to read, have them choose a favorite book to get lost in for a while. It takes their mind off the situation at hand and gives them a new world to enter in.
Explore the Outdoors: Gather sticks, walk the dog, paint on rocks, ride a bike. There are so many possibilities for individual time outside.
Journal: Writing can be a wonderful release. Pull up your latest Instagram and Facebook photos and have your girls write the story behind the photograph. If your girl wants to avoid anything remotely related to school, give her a funny subject to write about or have her write a letter to Grandma.
Take Photographs: Hand over the big girl camera and let your girl capture what she finds interesting. She’ll be excited you let her use the camera and gladly accept the challenge to explore.
I’ve discovered making my girls always get along stifles emotions that sometimes need to be released. By showing them how to seek quiet time, I hope to impart a gift that will extend beyond many hot summer nights and into every season of life.
What are ways you handle heightened sibling rivalry during summertime?