“I’m not touching you!”
“That’s my toy, not yours!”
“Quit breathing on me!”
“Mom, he’s hitting me!”
We all hear variations on these, and many more, when we have more than one kid. No matter how much siblings might love each other, they’re going to fight, argue, and bug each other at least every now and then. When you homeschool, you almost guarantee that it will happen even more often.
I know in our house, it’s become a very regular thing in recent weeks. Sometimes I get to the point where I want to hide in my bedroom and not come out until the kids are grown.
I try new things all the time to try to shake them out of it. I even tried something my grandmother used to do to my dad and my uncle – when the kids fought, I made them kiss and make up. A big ol’ smack on the lips! They were embarrassed, but it did stop the fighting. For all of five minutes. Hey, I tried.
It can be hard sometimes to find creative, effective ways to put a stop to the fighting. And when the arguments are completely senseless, over something that doesn’t even need to be talked about much less yelled about, it can be hard to keep your own cool sometimes.
One of the few things that I found that actually worked, and that I need to see about trying again, was giving the kids a little separation. They have to share a room, and a bathroom, so throw in homeschooling on top of that and they, literally, never get a break from each other. So we instituted an hour of reading time per day, with each kid getting to spend half of that alone in their shared bedroom. Just that 30 minutes each day really helped give them some breathing room and cut back on the constant bickering. I have no idea if it will be as effective now, but it’s worth a shot.
What are your suggestions or tips for helping parents cut down, or eliminate, the bickering between siblings? Do you prefer punishment or reward, or do you have some little trick that you use that stops it before it starts?
While we’re on it, what’s the silliest thing your kids have argued over? For mine, it was who a piece of cardboard belonged to – they each wanted to use it for a project, but it was a torn up piece of trash, anyway – and they still fought over it.