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9 Smart Ways to Stop Sibling Squabbles

How to end sibling rivalry - These 9 tips and ideas will stop brothers and sisters from fighting whether they're toddlers or teenagers. Smart advice, wisdom, and truths for families with kids. Great for when there's a new baby or multiple children. Mom needs help at home with life with multiple children.

All siblings argue. If you’re looking for a quick and easy magic bullet to end the fighting, you aren’t going to find it here.

My kids do it. It’s the messy part of our beautiful, messy life. They argue over toys and space and who gets to sit with mom in the evening. It happens.

But my kids fight a lot less than most other siblings I know, and I think it’s due to 9 simple things I do on a regular basis. Here they are:

  1. Make sure they get enough sleep. Everyone is grumpy when tired. We have less patience, less tolerance to stress. If your kids aren’t getting enough rest, they are naturally going to argue more. It’s a fact.
  2. Feed them before they’re starving. Like not getting enough sleep, not eating often enough leads to general grouchiness. I’m not saying to feed your kids every hour, not at all. But feeding them several small meals and snacks throughout the day is going to lead to generally more content and less stressed kids. Less stressed means less bickering.
  3. Model good behavior. This is my mantra. If you model good behavior for your kids, they’re going to be more likely to display good behaviors. Have nice manners. Show grace to others. Hold your tongue when you’re annoyed. Don’t hide all conflict from your kids, and fight fair when you argue with your spouse.
  4. Don’t let them blame each other. When there’s a major argument among my kids, the first thing I hear is, “She started it!” or “She ______ to me!” I stop that kind of talk in its tracks with two simple sentences: “No one is in trouble. I just need to know what happened.” This doesn’t work 100% of the time, because sometimes someone really is in trouble (if I witnessed hitting or taking toys or some such thing), but most of the time, this calms things down and lets me get to the bottom of the situation.
  5. Have special one-on-one time with each kid as often as possible. Ideally, this happens every day, but it is an absolute necessity at least a few times a week. Amy McCready from Positive Parenting Solutions calls this Mind, Body, and Soul Time because it feeds all three. If you’ve never been intentional about this, it is the single most important thing you can do for your parenting. All your other interactions will become easier when you spend dedicated one-on-one time with your kids on a regular basis.
  6. Be prepared for boredom. When kids are sitting idle, they are more likely to pick at each other. Rainy days. Car trips. (Car trips are the worst for my kids!) Days when it’s too hot or too cold to be outside. Lazy evenings while we’re waiting for dinner. Any time that your kids are just sitting around not doing anything is going to breed bickering. Start an activity jar, make up activity boxes, or create some other solutions to boredom. {I’m not saying that all boredom is a bad thing. Boredom is where kids learn to occupy themselves and be creative in their play. Those are good things. But when boredom turns to bickering, you probably want to step in with an activity.}
  7. Wear them out. This goes along with boredom above. Kids with excess energy are kids who are more likely to pick a fight. They need to get outside and run around or ride bikes or jump on the trampoline. They need to dance and sing or play. Do whatever exercise with them that you can to get the energy out so they are calm and relaxed. Calm and relaxed kids are much less likely to fight than jittery, hyperactive ones.
  8. Practice calm discipline. Kids who get yelled and picked at are naturally going to yell and pick at their siblings, no? Talk to your kids the way you want them to talk to each other. Enforce the rules firmly but fairly, and speak to them as gently as you can when you’re burning mad. (See? I understand.)
  9. Guard their hearts. You’re going out of your way to model good behavior for your kids, but you’re letting them see all sorts of unfavorable behaviors in the media and in their friendships. You have to guard their hearts, Momma. Protect them from tv shows where the kids squabble and talk back to their parents. Protect them from name-calling and meanness. Protect them from the “friends” who backtalk to their parents and gossip. All kids emulate what they see, so choose wisely what you let in.

If you put these nine strategies into practice in your parenting, you are going to see and hear fewer sibling squabbles. They will dwindle and nearly fade away.

Check out my post on 30 ways to help your kids get along.

© 2015 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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