The yelling…the screaming…the fighting…OH SO ANNOYING! Sibling rivalry drives me crazy sometimes. I’ll be honest…sometimes, I just let them argue it out. I just simply don’t have the time, energy, or the patience to step in every time and in fact, I’ve learned that it’s healthy to let my kids work it out on their own–unless it gets too out of hand, of course.
I’ve learned that it’s not always necessary for me to step in. Taking time to teach my kids that they have a voice and they can stand up for themselves is an important skill for life. Learning to handle an argument will certainly come in handy for their future. I have given them three simple steps in a little rhyme to help them remember what to do…
- Say it kindly.
- Walk away.
- Go get help. (Clap, clap, clap)
I want to empower my kids to try to solve their own problems with their siblings with kind and respectful words first. “Please don’t hit me. I don’t deserve it.”
Then, they walk away and get some space.
Then, if the offender keeps offending, they come get me for help.
Sometimes it works beautifully. Sometimes it doesn’t. They are still learning and I just keep on teaching because I know they will benefit in the long run.
Recently, I found a new idea from www.kidsspot.com.au in an article called Put a Stop to Sibling Bickering: Make a Get-Along Jar. It was my hope that I could use The Get-Along Jar in my own home as well as help another mom with some sibling rivalry going on in her home too.
I tried it. And?
It was awful. Ultimate fail!! It only created more arguing. So what started as an argument between siblings ended up being an argument between me and my oldest. Not the point at all, but only he could turn an idea about getting along into an argument. Oh the irony!
So why am I sharing this idea with you? I’m sure you’re thinking…”Why do you want me to try it then?”
Because it just might work for you. All kids are different. And my oldest just so happens to thrive off of conflict so The Get-Along Jar gave him yet another opportunity to argue, but with my youngest kids, they actually did enjoy it. They did choose to change their focus to try to work as a team instead of arguing which is the whole point of The Get-Along Jar to begin with. Every child is different. Every family is different. Your kids just might get it and if it can help you have less sibling rivalry going on in your home then my failed experiment will be all worth it. 🙂
- To distract kids in the middle of an argument or silly bickering.
- To provide an opportunity to do something together that requires teamwork.
- To remind each other that they love each other and that life is too short to spend time arguing when they can spend more time having fun and doing kind things together.
- Jar or cup
- Popsicle sticks
- Strips of paper with get-along ideas (printable below)
- Markers to decorate
Get-Along Ideas (Download below)
- Say three nice things about the other person.
- Turn on some music and dance together.
- Read a storybook together–taking turns reading a page.
- Set the table together.
- Make up a ‘getting along song’ and perform it for the family.
- Make the other person’s bed.
- Write a poem for the other person.
- Clean the other person’s room.
- Get each other a glass of water and sit outside to drink it.
- Draw something positive about your sibling.
- Sweep the floor together.
- Make each other a ‘sorry’ card.
- Play Simon Says for six minutes.
- Draw a picture of each other.
- Give each other a big hug.
- Clean the bathroom sinks together.
- Pick up the other person’s toys.
- Do 10 sit ups, 10 jumping and five push-ups.
- Tell each other a story.
- Draw a picture together.
- Tickle each other.
- Do a kind deed together for someone else.
- Ask your sibling 3 questions about themselves.
- Make each other laugh with silly faces.
- Play The Quiet Game.
How to use
- Introduce your kids to The Get-Along Jar. Let them know that they are family and that they are called to love each other and work as a team and The Get-Along Jar is going to help remind them of that. Ask them to brainstorm ideas of some things they can do together to have fun instead of fighting or you can just use the ideas below.
- Have them help decorate the sticks as well as label and decorate the jar.
- When fighting or arguing begins, walk over to the kids with The Get-Along Jar and assign one child to pick out a stick. If you know your kids will argue over this, you pick out the stick for them.
- Have the child read or you read what is on the stick and they must do that instead.
- Encourage your kids to do things in The Get-Along Jar anytime they want too. They can use The Get-Along Jar for ideas of things they can do show their family teamwork or to just have some fun together. They don’t have to be in an argument to use The Get-Along Jar. It’s for “all things teamwork.”
- What a great way to refocus the kids on what is important—being kind and loving and working as a team!
Good luck. I hope The Get-Along Jar works for you.
Here’s to building better families together!