Your kids bicker, argue and fight - at least some of the time. Some fights stem from jealousy while others result from differences in their personalities, age differences or simply spending way too much time together.
To help maintain your precious sanity and encourage healthy sibling relationships, check out the following suggestions:
Set Some Ground Rules
When it comes to kids and fighting, you might let certain things slide and be strict on others. For example, you ignore basic name calling, including the classic “you are a poopy head” or “doo doo brain” accusations. Once you determine what is and is not acceptable, let your kids know the rules as well as the consequences - and then stick to them.
Try not to Get Involved
Some kids seem to up the arguing ante when mom or dad is nearby. While you want to make sure the fighting doesn’t escalate, do everything you can to steer clear of the battles. If the argument is over something like what to watch on TV, what game to play or who sits where in the living room, encourage them to work it out on their own and then leave the room.
Realize That 24/7 Togetherness Is Unrealistic
Even the most lovey dovey siblings get sick of each other, especially during long stretches of time like summer vacations. Make sure all of your kids have time and space to pursue their own interests, play with friends without big or little siblings in tow or chill out with a book and enjoy some peace and quiet.
If your kids share a bedroom, do what you can to make sure the space is a relatively serene sanctuary that encourages an environment of cooperation. Instead of buying separate twin beds, which often cause kids to use masking tape to cordon off “yours” and “mine” halves of the room, switch to bunk beds. Set a maximum price point and let your kids work together to choose what type of style they want for their room. Then, help them set up the rest of the space with their personal and shared items.
Catch Them Getting Along
There’s nothing like a good dose of praise to encourage kids to continue what they are doing. If you notice that the house seems unnaturally quiet and you find your darling kiddos working together on a jigsaw puzzle, your older daughter braiding her little sister’s hair or your sons turning your living room into a massive railway for Thomas the Tank Engine, compliment the heck out of them and let them know how proud you are.
Be a Great Role Model
Like it or not, your kids are always watching you. They are listening closely as you deal with conflicts with your spouse, a customer service representative on the phone or your in-laws. Even if you feel like hollering at times, strive to work through conflicts and disagreements in a respectful and kind way. Chances are good this approach will rub off on your kids.