MOM! The word you couldn’t wait for your baby to say and your squabbling kids to forget. Another day has begun and within minutes the kids are fighting over who can play with a toy first, who has control over the remote, or who is bugging who.
Fighting is normal and as children learn to resolve conflicts, they gain the life skills of compromise and corporation. That’s great for the future, but how can you resolve things now?
Here are a few key tips:
- Set house rules, discuss behavior expectations, and consequences
Set up the house rules and post them on the refrigerator or bulletin board. When a squabble occurs, reiterate the rules, and be prepared for follow through of consequences. They will soon learn that fighting over something will result in the loss of a privilege and discourage certain behaviors.
- Diffuse the situation
If they are fighting about a TV program, turn off the TV and make them find something else to do. Fighting over who gets to go first, have them pick a card and the one with the highest card goes first. Nothing stops a fight quicker than saying that you are going to separate them if they can’t play nice as siblings are each other’s best pals.
- Separate them
There is nothing wrong with a little bit of alone time. Place each child in a separate room for a designated amount of time to distress, reflect, and decompress.
- Do nothing
If the kids are not doing anything dangerous or hurting each other, sometimes doing nothing and having them resolve their own battles is best.
- Praise good behavior
Nothing builds or encourages sibling relationship better than praise when they are doing things right. Positive attention enforces pleasant actions and enjoyment of sibling time together.