Our Five Ring Circus: Make It STOP!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Make It STOP!

Raising kids is a crazy adventure! An awesome, amazing, but sometimes frustrating adventure.  (Just keeping it real.)

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!

 Staring Contest


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!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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!

A Tale of Two Distant Ages

Fret no longer, this playlist caters to both your 5-year-old AND your 14-year-old.
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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:

Sugar and Spice

One kid’s sassy, the other one’s sweet.
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Meet in the Middle

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.
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Must Watch TV

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.
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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!

So tell me:  What are you watching on Netflix?  How do you end the bickering in your home?

5 Ways to Stop the Bickering


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. 


  1. Ha! I love this! The shirt is priceless!

    1. Thank you! I think the look on Lily's face is hilarious. Definitely one of my favorite captures!

  2. Awesome post! Love the pics of your girls in that shirt. I know my sister and I fought like crazy when we were kids and I'm definitely anticipating the same to happen when Mila gets a sibling. I'll be referring back to this for sure! :)

    Have you watched Bloodline on Netflix? Another great show!

    1. Thank you! That picture makes me laugh!
      I only watched the first episode, but I definitely want to watch more when we're done watching these shows. Thank you for the recommendation!

  3. Love this! My youngest are 2 & 4 and already argue over everything. They love each other like crazy, but irritate each other just as much! I'm going to try the staring contest next time their bickering. I bet that would even work for my hubby & me!! ;)

    1. Oh my goodness, I have a feeling it's going to start with Lily and Liam soon. They are 2 and 4 and Lily is REALLY starting to get irritated with her brother! I hope the staring contest helps. It's definitely my favorite method!

  4. This is awesome!! All easy things that I'd totally do with mine when they get older. I love Lily's face in that picture. Ha ha! She is so expressive.

    1. Haha! Thanks! Trust me, the shirt and the staring contest almost always work!

  5. These are the BEST ideas, Stefanie!! I have never heard of the shirt idea, but seriously, we will definitely be doing this for Jacob and Olivia when they get a little bit older.

    And we LOOOOVE Netflix! We've been members since 2003 (before most people even knew what it was) and I couldn't live without it!

  6. We started making ours apologize, say I Love You to one another and then they have to stand there and either hold hands or hug...we did the t-shirt once, too! I took a picture of them in the shirt and told them I was going to post it on FB and Emma started crying hysterically!! Lots of other good tips here!

  7. I am LOVING these tips and plan to start them with my girls right away! Because lets be honest, they DON'T always get along.

  8. Love it--especially the stare contest and making them do a chore. I haven' experienced much bickering since I grew up as an only child and now Lewie is one too, but I do remember arguing with my best friend once or twice growing up. I guess it's all part of learning how to share and find a consensus. Now, if only adults could just have a stare contest to put their differences aside...


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