Shared Play Technique

If you’re sick of hearing the same old squabbles between your kids, encourage a bit of teamwork with the Shared Play Technique. It's used on the show to get siblings working together for a common goal…

The Shared Play Technique

Larger families, especially with siblings close in age, will be familiar with the constant squabbling and fighting between them. This technique encourages team play, allowing brothers and sisters to benefit and to communicate with each other without arguing.

Getting brothers and sisters to play together

  • Organise a game which will challenge older as well as younger children, one which has a goal to work towards but doesn’t have an obvious winner or loser (see examples below).
  • Sit down with them and explain the rules, telling them that good teamwork will get them to a goal which they can all enjoy. Try to avoid giving the lead role to the dominant sibling.
  • If you’re concentrating on building sibling relationships, you’ll already have a family Reward Chart. Let them know they will earn a reward point for working well together, too.
  • Supervise the game and make sure all the children are taking part and taking turns. Praise them at every turn and try not to react to minor mishaps!

Games that might work

A treasure trail in the park or in the house (if you can get them outside for long enough to arrange it!), making sure the clues are things all the family could answer. Any trust game where one of the siblings gets to lead another, like a blindfolded obstacle course. Some structured games with a competitive element might work, like Pictionary, battleships or dominos, especially if you can get your children to work in teams, or work against you and your partner.

If this technique works well, why not make shared play part of your Family Routine? Email us with your good ideas to encourage sibling teamwork.

Related links

  • Sibling Rivalry: How to go from foe to friend:  How to help them get on with each other.
  • One to One Bonding: In families where there are siblings, the One to One Technique’ has been used on the show to make sure each child benefits from individual attention...
  • Shared Chore Technique: As seen on the show, this technique aims to discourage sibling rivalry by showing the kids they can get along together (sometimes!).
  • Family Routine: As seen on the Supernanny show, setting up a Family Routine may help your family use time more effectively.
  • The Reward Chart: Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for good behaviour, and the Reward Chart is a useful way to reinforce good behaviour on the spot.
  • Superstars Reward Charts: Saying ‘Well done’ to your child is the very best way to promote good behaviour. Download for free one of Supernanny’s ready-made Reward Charts.
  • Forum: Share advice on this and other parenting topics in our discussion forum.

Related Advice