Thursday 6 November 2014

Sibling Rivalry

It’s rare for a family with multiple kids NOT to have at least some experience of sibling rivalry.  We have recently entered into the stage of bickering on top of the usual fighting (twin 6yr old boys and a 2yr old boy). I checked the definition of the word and yes, the boys definitely bicker:
 Bicker - verb - 1. To argue about petty and trivial matters.
 They have always fought but with Master 2yrs being so talkative now the sibling rivalry has really turned up a notch. I thought it might be interesting to do a bit more research into the subject, why siblings argue and ways in which experts feel it ought to be dealt with – is there a more scientific method than just sending kids to their rooms?  

Kids fight for many reasons – generally though, they don’t just fight because one toy is better than another or one piece of cake is bigger. Instead, the majority of fights arise due to underlying causes such as birth order and family dynamics.   Competing desires for your attention and differences in developmental stages can lead to moments of jealousy or misunderstanding and most of the causes of these, such as age difference or temperament, are impossible to change, which unfortunately makes sibling rivalry inevitable.  That said, just like everything else in childhood, the underlying reason why siblings fight is that they need to learn something.  So what are they learning as part of the fighting process? 

Siblings are of equal status when it comes to the love of their parents and the rules that govern life in their family.  Teaching each other tolerance, and “give and take” (even when they don’t want to!) is a great exercise in learning to love someone even when they don’t like what the person did.  Your child’s relationship with their siblings acts as their first opportunity to develop skills such as kindness, tolerance, patience and most of all, conflict resolution.

As a parent, our initial instincts tend to be to try to stop the fighting.  However experts suggest that it may make sense to switch the focus from stopping the fighting (which after all teaches valuable skills) to stopping the rivalry.  The rivalry is the thing that can cause lifelong damage between siblings. Below are some tips from childhood development specialists (including Sharon Silver, author of “Stop Reacting and Start Responding”, Dr Sigmund Norr from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and on making the switch from stopping the fighting to tackling the cause of the problem and stopping the rivalry:

1.     Stay calm, quiet and in control: pay attention to what your kids are doing so you can intervene before a situation escalates.  Keep your cool and your kids will learn to do the same.
2.     Remember that it takes two to tangle: rarely will you witness all the events leading up to the fight – avoid playing the blame game.
3.     Don’t be judge and jury: most parents feel the urge to try to step in and help resolve issues.  The problem with this is that kids don’t learn how to resolve things themselves.  When a parent decides who is right and who is wrong and what should be done about that then one child will feel angry and the other will feel like a winner.  They are not working together to practice the resolution skills they need to develop in order to be successful in later life.
4.     Be a facilitator: to get your kids to be on the same team you need to help facilitate and help guide them towards resolution of their own fights.  In order to do this you need to teach them how to express the feelings that motivated the fight in the first place.  For example“Sophie, why are you angry?  Please give me 3 ideas you think will help work this out” – ask both children the same questions and treat them fairly.  Listen when they talk through the feelings that motivated the fight – they will most likely be frustrated and emotional at this stage, and whilst this is no excuse for negative or aggressive behavior, children will be more likely to cooperate if they feel they are being heard.
5.     Explain that we don’t hurt those we love.
6.     Don’t compare your kids: comparing kids does not make them rise up and work harder – it makes them feel resentment and lack of self worth.  Rather, create opportunities for cooperation and compromise.  Bear in mind that how parents interact with each other sets an example for how their children interact, so don’t forget to set a good example! 
7.     Focus on each child’s unique talents: help create high self-esteem in your kids by using “specific praise” – ie focused on their unique talents – rather than global praise.  Avoid labels / pigeonholing and let each child know that he / she is special to you by spending time with them individually.
8.     If a spat between the siblings results in the need for punishment, avoid making the conversation public: this can shame a child in front of their siblings, creating greater animosity between them. 

When you’re in the midst of the battle-zone it’s easy to feel that it’s only your kids who fight like cat and dog. Take comfort from the fact that it’s an inevitable part of growing up for children who have siblings and it teaches them valuable skills that will be very useful to them in later life. There is nothing you can do as a parent to completely remove normal sibling rivalry and jealousy from your kids’ lives.  What you can do though, is to make sure that there’s enough love and positive reinforcement for each of your children, whilst at the same time setting limits on the amount of chaos that ensues from this bickering behaviour.  

Remember that in time, things usually settle down.  Your children will most likely continue to squabble from time-to-time, but eventually you will start to see signs of bonding between them. 

Sharon Silver, author of “Stop Reacting and Start Responding”
Dr Sigmund Norr from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Little Kickers announce a partnership with Ellerslie AFC

Little Kickers are very pleased to announce our partnership with Ellerslie AFC who continue to offer a strong junior football program. We will be working together to get the same outcome, growing football at grass seeds level and beyond.

Little Kickers are running classes at YMCA Ellerslie, Michaels Ave. next to Ellerslie AFC’s grounds under their club name, for kids from 18 months to 7 years, working alongside Ellerslie’s youth program.
Little Kickers will directly link into the club, graduating to junior football with a defined pathway and skills base. 

Ellerslie Football Club’s website:
Little Kickers NZ’s website:

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Oct Player Profile - Lilly Day - 6yrs

Meet the future deliverer of our Grand-kids!

Child’s Name:  Lilly Day
Age: 6

Venue/s attended:  Woodend, Christchurch
How long have you been coming to Little Kickers? 3 or so months
Favourite Little Kickers game? What's the time Mr Wolf
What do you like best about Little Kickers? Because it is fun!!
What do you want to be when you grow up? Midwife
Favourite healthy food? Apples
Who is your favourite coach? Coach Justin and Emily
What do you love? Babies, horses and football

Parent or Carers Perspective on Little Kickers: 
The low numbers in the class, the positive and very encouraging coaches, the number of different games/ drills each week always different. It has been a really good thing for our shy little girl, she is much more confident and can’t wait each week till Little Kickers thanks to you guys!!

Thank you Jemma for your lovely comments about Little Kickers, we're so glad your beautiful daughter Lilly is finding confidence in our classes.

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Sept Player Profile - Joshua - 4yrs

If you're ever in trouble just ask Dr Joshua and he'll make everything better ... 

Child's Name:  Joshua House
Age: 4

 (Joshua & one his favourite Coaches)

Venue/s attended:  Lincoln
How long have you been coming to Little Kickers?  About 4 weeks nowFavourite Little Kickers game?  I love all of them, but my favourite is 'What's the time Mr Wolfy!'What do you like best about Little Kickers?  Apart from the football skills gained, the children are taught to listen to the teacher.
What do you want to be when you grow up? A Doctor!Favourite healthy food?  StrawberriesWho is your favourite coach?  Coach Leanne & Coach Gareth
What do you love? Going to the park, swimming and going to 'Clip and Climb'

Parents Perspective on Little Kickers: 
The children are taught the essentials of listening, respecting others, while having fun. Well thought out exercises that the children enjoy and keep them interested. 

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Player Profile - Nicholas - 4 years 8 months

Choo Choo!!

We look forward to hearing about all your adventures as a Train Driver and maybe one day you can give all the future budding footballers a ride on your train. 

Child's Name:  Nicholas Henderson
Age: 4 years 8 months
Venue/s attended:  Point View School, Dannemora
How long have you been coming to Little Kickers?  6 months
Favourite Little Kickers game or imagination?   Kicking the ball into the net
What do you like best about Little Kickers?  The colour games
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A Train Driver 
Favourite healthy food?  Bananas
Who is your favourite coach?  Coach Ashley and Coach Sonia
What do you love? Mummy and Daddy

Parent or Carers Perspective on Little Kickers: 
Little Kickers is fantastic for helping children with their fine motor skills.  We really enjoy how the activities help with their learning such as counting and colours.


Monday 7 July 2014

Player Profile - Zachery - 3yrs

Zachery has been with us at Stonefields, Auckland for just over a year, he LOVES his goal kicking! 

Child's Name:  Zachery Atiae

Age: 3yrs

Venue/s attended:  Stonefields

How long have you been coming to Little Kickers?  12 months

Favourite Little Kickers game?   Kicking goals

What do you like best about Little Kickers?  Siobhan and Lilli

Favourite healthy food?  Porridge

Who is your favourite coach?  Siobhan

What do you love? Doing big kicks and scoring goals

Parents Perspective on Little Kickers: 
He has really got a lot out of Little Kickers and looks forward to it every week. He is slowly building up his skills and the more he does this the more enjoyable it becomes. The teacher makes a difference and Siobhan does a great job and Zac responds to her really well.

Thank you answering our questions and keep kicking those awesome goals!

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Player Profile - Gabriel - 3yrs 11 months

Thank you to the lovely, nearly 4 yr old, Gabriel (with a bit of help from his parents) for answering our questions. 

May you be a safe racing driver when you grow up!

Name: Gabriel Taylor

Age: 3 years & 11 Months 

Venues attended: Takapuna & Northcote Int.

How long have you been coming to Little Kickers? 2 years

Favourite Little Kickers game?   "the running around one" ( relay race) "and the one where Mat says 'Gabriel on blue and Marco on red' and then you score a goal!"         
What do you like best about Little Kickers? Wearing my football kit & fast yellow shoes, and scoring goals.
What do you want to be when you grow up?  A racing driver.

Favourite healthy food?  Carrot & Cucumber.

Who is your favourite coach? Coach Anna & Coach Mat

What do you love? Batman Lego & Pepper Pig  

Parents Perspective on Little Kickers:  We love LK. Apart from being a fun thing to do with Gabriel every Saturday morning, It's been a great way for him to develop his physical strength and balance skills progressively as he grows.

The Little Kickers team would like to wish you a very happy and special 4th Birthday 

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Little Kickers supporting the ‘Little Fighters’

Little Kickers, football classes for kids 1 – 7 years, is supporting the much smaller ‘little fighters’ in the world, premature babies in NZ who need our support to survive.

You can’t be guaranteed anything when starting the journey of parenthood, one of them being when your precious one/s will arrive! My husband and I (Directors of Little Kickers NZ) found out the unexpected news of expecting identical twin boys (now 5 years old). Once you get over the shock of this you start the not so good google search on your possible journey ahead – it’s called a high-risk pregnancy on purpose – as we found out.
At 18 weeks pregnant we found out our boys had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) which affects approx. 1-3 per 10,000 births or less than 15% of identical twins. Without going into the ins and outs of the condition it did give us an extremely high chance of them being delivered early therefore requiring time in NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit).
There were some very emotional hair-raising moments of showing signs of labour at 24 weeks and then the possibility of being sent to Sydney for laser surgery (this surgery is now available in NZ) but we luckily got through to 35 weeks gestation. On delivery at 35 weeks, 1.7kg and 2.2kg, they were rushed to NICU. We had a basic understanding of what NICU was all about but nothing can prepare you for all the beeping machines and general numbers flashing here and there and alarms going off. It’s such a noisy place for such peaceful innocent little beings.
We had twin 2 (2.2kg) start his life off with a brain seizure at birth so he was hooked up to machines and drugged to keep him stable and the other being so very small that we felt quite lost in these alien looking incubators.
Twin 2 getting and ECG done to check for brain damage
“We found our way through this journey, taking comfort in the support of other parents – some twin mums which I am still friends with – and the support of the wonderful nurses and doctors who invested so much time and energy into the amazing jobs they did daily.”
First cuddles together at 3 weeks
NICU is such an emotional place. Every day I would get dropped off by my husband on the way to his work at 8am and then picked up again on the way back at 6pm. My day would consist of doing their cares (temperature taking, nappy changes, tube feed them and try to breastfeed) and then pumping to keep my milk supply up in-between. The day ended in going home, eating dinner and then more pumping (every 3 hours during the night) and dropping off milk to the hospital at 9pm. This continued on for 5 weeks when we could finally go home as a complete family.
This journey makes life stop, everything outside of NICU becomes irrelevant. Then you get the families where they can’t stop their lives, they have other kids to care for and live miles away from their loved ones, let alone those who are dealing with their premature babies having life-saving surgery. The Neonatal Trust enables parents to gain the support they need during these hard times. 
My husband and I chose this charity to support for 2014 and look forward to our first fundraiser which is Dress-up & Support week (April 5th – 11th) at Little Kickers NZ. 
Kids and parents bring a gold-coin donation to their weekly class, they can dress-up as anything they want - with our coaches dressing up as well – all in aid of The Neaonatal Trust who support the ‘Little Fighters’ in this world.  
For further information about The Neonatal Trust and to donate please visit:
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