6 Tips for Fighting Siblings

Are your kids driving you crazy with bickering? Join the club. While the amount of bickering in your household may seem to have increased dramatically with the onset of summer vacation, you can take comfort in that you are certainly not alone. Most parents, especially with children who are within a couple years age difference fight. And all parents will have moments where they are sure that they simply cannot take anymore fighting!

While there is no secret trick to ending sibling bickering between your kids, there are a few tips on how to better handle it.

1. Stay Out of It

Make it clear to the kids that you no longer want anything to do with the fighting. Ignore the fighting the best you can (unless one or both kids are somehow in danger of being hurt). When you reach your tolerance level and simply cannot take it anymore, make them leave the room. Or you can leave the room and close the door. When you do make it clear that it’s just too loud so you are closing the door until they are done.

2. Ban Tattling

Sit down and explain to your children that there is zero tolerance for tattling in your house. Explain that unless they need your help or someone is in danger, they are not to come tattle to you. If you have a behavior chart of some sort in your house, add tattling to the list of behaviors that are not acceptable.

3. Be Fair

If something gets broken or a mess is made and your kids cannot seem to agree on who’s at fault (“He did it!” NO! SHE did it!” etc.) Make it clear that you do not care who did it. Both kids are responsible for cleaning up the mess. This way you know that in the long run it will be fair and the kids will learn that tattling and arguing over who’s fault it is will not get them anywhere.

4. Change of Scenery

Boredom and monotony (i.e. summer vacation) are factors that can contribute to sibling bickering . So if you the circumstances are ripe for a day of constant bickering give the kids a change of scenery. Go for a walk or a drive or maybe schedule playdate. Sometimes when the tensions run high a trip to the park is all it takes to clear the air.

5. Give Your Kids Their Own Day

A great way to break up the bickering is by setting up a calendar during the week (this is especially helpful during summer break) giving each child their own day. On Mondays and Wednesdays one child gets to choose snacks, TV shows, or gets to swing first at the park. Then Tuesdays and Thursdays the other child gets to make those choices. Once you work out a schedule and the kids get into the swing of it you may find a lot less bickering. Once they know that they will get their turn to rule the day they will fight less when it’s someone else’s turn.

6. One on One Time

When you get down to the bottom line when trying figure out why kids fight it generally comes down to another way for them to compete for mom and dad’s attention. A good healthy habit to start is once a week is to make sure each child gets a little one on one time with each parent. Though it may be hard sometimes, even just a trip to the grocery store can suffice. Giving each child a little extra undivided attention each week could go a long way in easing the need to act out so that he or she can get your attention.

This article originally appeared on Parents Ask. Photo by Ken Wilcox.