The days of dealing with crying babies quickly morph into days of dealing with stubborn toddlers having meltdowns. In the blink of an eye, you suddenly have school-aged children. And chances are, if you have more than one child who are close in age, you're going to have to deal with (quite possibly more than) your fair share of bickering!
I grew up with 6 sisters and a brother and I bickered with the two sisters closest in age to me all the time. It eventually stopped when we were adults (then again I did "bicker" with my sister on Friday about who caused all the problems growing up), but I was so naive when I had my second child. I remember saying to my older sister, "Oh, it's going to be so nice to have one of each. They won't fight as much!" And my sister? She laughed in my face!
See, she has one of each. I was still growing up while she was raising them so I don't recall those fights, but apparently they happened often and were intense at times.
I still didn't believe it. I didn't WANT to believe it. Dylan and Lexie were the best of friends. They got along so well and adored each other. Then, about 2 years ago, when they were 7 and 9, it happened. And as they grew, the amount of time they bickered increased, too.
It drove me CRAZY!
Now, I'm a realist. I tried to find articles on how to handle it, but they had titles like "Make the Fighting Stop FOREVER" or "The Insanely Clever Trick to Make Your Kids Get Along Always." The realist in me knows that it just isn't going happen. The only thing that will make the bickering end is them growing up...or living in separate houses and never seeing each other for the next few years! Kids bicker. They always have. They always will.
The thing I've learned about bickering is that it tends to be continuous. I can shout out, "JUST GET ALONG!" until I'm blue in the face (or slamming my forehead against the wall repeatedly) and it won't work. I have to take action.
Through trial and error, I discovered some tricks to make the bickering end TEMPORARILY!
The "JUST GET ALONG" shirt!
This is an idea my friend taught me and I LOVE it! If my kids keep bickering, and I think the arguing can be resolved quickly, I don't separate them. Instead, I glue them together.
I guarantee it will end with smiles in most cases!
Do something nice for each other.
If my kids keep bickering, I tell them they have to stop what they are doing immediately and do something nice for each other. Whether it be completing a small chore for the other person, giving them a small gift (like a piece of gum or candy) or giving the other person a genuine compliment, they have to immediately stop, think, and do something nice.
This usually extinguishes the fire that caused the bickering and they return to playing nicely together.
Do a chore.
Sometimes, if I've tried other options and the bickering returns, I make the kids stop what they are doing and I make them do a job around the house. As you can imagine, this is my kids' least favorite option! BUT it works. They are always so relieved to finish the job and get back to playing! And, well, they can commiserate over what a mean mom they have!
A good old fashioned staring contest!
This is, without a doubt, my favorite method. It always ends in fits of laughter for everyone in the room!
When all else fails, separate them.
Although rare, there have been a few times when the previous methods fail and my kids just can't get along. It's usually due to someone being overly tired. When that happens, I make the kids clean up what they are playing with and each go to a separate room to decompress for a half hour. I get a half hour of peace and the kids (usually) return in a much better mood!
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I post a lot of pictures of my kids getting along really well. They really do have an incredible bond MOST of the time.
But I'm not afraid to share the not so great moments, too. This is real life and the reality is they do fight!
Thankfully, we all come together every Monday for Family Movie Night! It is, hands down, our favorite family tradition. We often turn to Netflix for some inspiration, and surprisingly, we never fight over what we should watch!
During the month of April, in honor of National Siblings Day, kids can turn to Netflix to choose something to watch from special playlists. There's something for each sibling and it inspires kids to just get along!
Since we have a large age range between our kids (we lovingly refer to the older two as Phase One and the younger two as Phase Two) we chose the "A Tale Of Two Distant Ages" Playlist!
Fret no longer, this playlist caters to both your 5-year-old AND your 14-year-old.
Home was a movie choice for Family Movie Night recently and we all loved it! We also made our way through Fuller House as a family and it was worth the hype. Our three older kids now come together to re-watch the episodes because they loved it that much!
A Tale of Two Distant Ages isn't the only playlist! Here are a few more playlists worth checking out:
One kid’s sassy, the other one’s sweet.
Deciding on a genre is the hardest when it comes to watching together. From comedy to action, this playlist includes titles that have a little bit of everything for everyone.
Whether long distance or right next door, these days, adult siblings are also bonding over what they’re watching. Difference is you’re no longer fighting over the remote and are instead championing your favorite Netflix title to get your brother or sister hooked on the same shows. Here are a few that are sure to win you some big-time street cred.
As you all know, couples can bicker, too!
Grant and I definitely have our own preferences on Netflix. He knows I will NEVER watch Archer with him and I know that Switched at Birth is NOT his cup of tea!
But the list of shows we DO enjoy watching together is numerous!
We just finished the amazing 4th season of House of Cards. We're currently laughing our way through the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and realizing that we actually love The West Wing, which was way too grown up for us when it was actually on TV! I recently introduced Grant and the older kids to my teen-years favorite: Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Grant admitted that it's pretty "decent" which is high praise coming from him and my older two are hooked! We tend to fall back on favorites like Frasier and Gilmore Girls (can't WAIT for the revival), and we're counting down the days until the new season of Orange is the New Black premieres!
Netflix brings Grant and I together 4 nights a week after our kids go to bed. Our Netflix Date Nights are a great way to recover from the chaos of the day! It's such a simple way to decompress and reconnect as a couple!
DISCLOSURE: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I am provided with a subscription to Netflix and I also receive other products and exclusive information. All opinions are my own.