Culture & Entertainment

Instant pleasure: How to stop bickering

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

Instant pleasure: How to stop bickering

This summer's been crazy for our family, and it seems like my kids, 9 and 3 years old, are trying to place for a gold medal in the World Bickering Championships. I think the cover is going to fall off my copy of Siblings Without Rivalry (no truth in advertising there!) Child on grass But there's one thing that always brings peace to our family and that's time outside. Of course it helps if, as in this picture, it's a really big park. Here are my 5 best tips to stop kids from bickering, fast. 1. Draw it out This is a variation on a trick from Barbara Coloroso's Kids are Worth It! that works for younger kids. If there's an argument going on, give each child a piece of paper and some crayons and ask them to draw their feelings or their version of the argument. Send them to separate corners to do it. Express specific praise for each one without taking a side in the argument. ("I love the energy in these red circles.") 2. Get outdoors It's amazing how fast sibling arguments end when the direction moves forward (or down a grassy slope.) Plus, they can get further away from each other. 3. Dance Put on a loud, stomping tune and invite your kids to dance it out with you. Even if they won't, probably the spectacle of you dancing like that will reduce them to giggles. 4. Give them permission to bicker – or walk away Name your kids' behavior ("this sounds a lot like bickering") and then ask them if it bothers them. If it doesn't, ask them to do it in another room. This at least means you don't have to listen to it. If it does, show whichever child it bothers that he or she can walk away. It takes two to argue! 5. Start over Rather than referee the results just call a fresh start. Like grownups, kids sometimes find themselves in the midst of an argument that on some level they know is senseless but they just can't drop it. Whistle and say "would you both like to start over now?" What's your pro tip for dealing with bickering -- or your mom's?
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Instant pleasure: How to stop bickering

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