The neighborhood kids have chosen your home as the “cool” place to hang out. Great, eh? After all, friends do play a big part of our kids’ happiness and well-being, and one of the best ways to instill happy home memories (as well as keep an eye-out for who your child is hanging with) is by making your house kid-friendly.
How to curb kid bickering
We all know the reality — whenever kids get together, blissful, happy times are not always the outcome. Those giggles and gleeful sounds of merriment we all hope for, all too quickly turn into those unnerving noises of yelling, tattling and arguing. Ah, the squelched dreams of a blissful summer spent with the kids.
If you’re at your wits end from hearing kid battles and are tired of refereeing or playing “negotiator,” have faith. There really is a way to curb kid bickering, tattling and tears — and save your sanity. You really need to do two things to make the summertime fun for everyone, including you. The first is to take a little time to plan how to make your house kid-friendly and the second is teach kids a few skills that will help them get along and reduce the bickering.
Here are a few tips from my book, Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me that might help you survive these hot summer months, and also teach your kids how to get along, tattle less and solve their problems without you. The result: Happier kids, more peaceful homes and a saner you. What could be better?
Enforce a “No Tattling” rule
What kid wants to be around a pal who always wants to snitch? Arguments and tears are inevitable outcomes, so nix tattling, pronto. The best way to extinguish it is to lay down one law in your home: Unless the report is intended to keep the accused out of trouble or harm, you won’t listen. The rule could be as simple as: “Is this helpful or unhelpful news?” And then consistently enforce the policy every time your kid — or his friend — tattles.
Buy an egg timer
A frequent reason for bickering is when one kid dominates others or doesn’t allow the same time on a task. So teach your kids to use an egg timer (or other concrete time keeper) to make things fair. Oven timers, egg timers and sand timers are great gadgets for younger kids to use. Older kids can use clocks or stopwatches. They first must agree on a set amount of time — usually only a few minutes — for using an item. When the time’s up, their turn is over. And everyone stays happy (including you).
Put away the good stuff
There are certain possessions that are very special to your child, as well as to other family members. So put those items away before a guest arrives. It actually minimizes potential conflicts. Then say, “If you leave anything out, those are things you have to share.”
Rock, paper, scissors; drawing straws; picking a number; flipping a coin — these are old-time favorites that come in handy when kids can’t decide on rules, who gets to choose what to do or who goes first. Teach them to your children so they can use them with their pals to help reduce those squabbles on their own.