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Taming Sibling Squabbles

“IT’S MINE!”

“NO, I HAD IT FIRST!”

And then…

“MOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!”

This a a daily occurrence at our house. With siblings only 20 months apart, the sibling squabbles are never ending. But, I have found a simple trick that basically does the refereeing for me and allows me to just sit back and relax.

The good ol’ basic kitchen timer.

Whenever my kids start to fight over an item that we only have one of, or if I hear the words, “I had it first!”, I can calmly reply, “I’m setting the timer.” I break out the timer, set it for what I think is the appropriate amount of time, and sit back and relax.

One kid gets the item until the timer goes off, and then it’s the other one’s turn. This dissolves the fight quickly and easily, and sometimes by the time the timer goes off, the other kid forgot he wanted to play with the item anyway, or the first child had already finished playing with it.

A timer is also really helpful when more than one child wants to play the same thing at the same time, like building blocks, but they can’t play cooperatively together. Using a timer allows each child to have their own time playing, without the other interfering, and then they swap.

Setting a timer is a great way to teach kids about taking turns, sharing without complaining (besides the initial complaint, of course), and giving each other space, along with being a simple and effective way to tame those sibling fights that inevitably pop up, without having to raise anything more than your finger.

How do you settle squabbles between siblings at your house?

Photo source: Paul J Everett/Flickr

 

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