School's Out!

Only three more days until school is out! Woo hoo!

I personally have never understood all the commercials showing how much parents dread school being out, and the kids being home. I, for one, look forward to the break from the exhausting school/homework/after-school-running-around-like-a-madwoman routine.

I LOVE not having to arise at 5:00 a.m. to squeeze in exercise time and work before my daughter arrives home at 2:00 p.m.

I LOVE that, especially now that my kids are older, we don’t have to hustle them off to bed, but can stay up late enjoying summer evenings, leisurely chats with neighbors, and roasting marshmallows to make s’mores in our backyard fire pit, without worries about getting up early or not getting enough sleep.

Now I admit, there are occasions during those hazy summer days, when my two little angels aren’t quite so delightful to be around 24/7. I know many of you are nodding in agreement when I say those occasions usually occur when they are fighting.

As my kids have entered their teen years, they’ve actually gotten a little better about this. But I recall several summers when, at times, their fighting drove me nuts! I absolutely could not tolerate it.

So I developed a few techniques that I’ve used successfully when these occasions occur; and I’m going to share them with you. :)

One technique I used a lot when they were younger was the Compliment Game.

Whenever I caught them fighting with each other (usually over something ridiculously trivial), I would have them play the Compliment Game. It didn’t matter who started it, or what the cause was, I would immediately sit them down and have them give three compliments to each other. The compliments had to be about qualities they genuinely admired in each other, and could not be something superficial like “I like your shirt.”

Eventually, as soon as the fighting would start, and I’d say, “Okay, it sounds like we need to play the Compliment Game,” I would hear…

“No, not the Compliment Game!”

“Anything but that, mom!”

I’m tellin’ ya’, it worked like a charm.

Another technique I’ve successfully used to forestall fighting is something I like to call “Lifeskills Training.” Basically, that’s just my fancy way of saying I put them to work.

See, I have a theory that oftentimes siblings start fighting with each other because they’re bored. They don’t have enough to do; they need to be put to work. Working helps release that restless energy they’ve built up from just sitting in front of the T.V. watching cartoons, and playing on the computer or X-Box.

I explained to the kids that it’s their father’s and my job to prepare them for life. In a few short years, they’ll be out on their own and they need to be fully prepared for that time. So at the beginning of the summer, we always set some Lifeskills goals. In previous years we’ve covered:

Cooking Lessons, Laundry Lessons, Cleaning the Bathroom (including the toilet) Lessons, as well as learning to dust (white glove test and everything), vacuum, sweep, mow the lawn, weed, do the dishes. You name it.

Sure, at first it’s a bit time-intensive for you as the parent-trainer. But they catch on quick. And the added bonuses are they’re so busy working, they don’t really have time to fight; plus, this ultimately creates more free time for you as the parent-trainer! It gives the kids confidence in their own abilities as well.

Pretty cool, eh? Really a win-win situation.

This summer, I think we’ll add working out. It’s a great Lifeskill to impart, especially with the obesity of American kids being such a popular topic of conversation lately.

So here’s to a buff, fun-filled, relaxing, argument-free summer!

What techniques do you use when siblings are fighting?

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