I was blessed with two strong-willed children. Every day is a fight in our house. They are either fighting each other, or I am fighting with one of them. Clean up, getting dressed, eating food, they always have something to say. I’m going on 6 years with one and 4 years with the second one. After all this time, I feel like I have a good system to cope with the madness.
1. Choose Your Battles.
If I argued with them every time they picked a fight, my life would be a forever fight. I have to pick and choose when I am going to step in or stand my ground. I try to save it for the important stuff. When it’s about their safety or being polite and kind. Other than that, I try to say yes, I try to be understanding to their wants and needs.
2. Let Kids Work It Out.
I found that sometimes when I stepped in to a sister on sister fight, the fight got worse. Nothing got resolved. Now, I will allow them to work it out. For the most part, they always come to a resolution. Someone might get slapped or hair pulled, but they figure it out. Give them guidance if needed or help them talk through it. This is especially important if the other child isn’t your own. There are some situations when I have no choice but to step in to solve the problem. That’s where I go back to number one. Choose your battles. Only step in when it’s absolutely necessary. They need to learn how to resolve their own problems.
3. Use A Reward System.
We love the Melissa And Doug Responsibility Chart. We have a mix of chores and behavioral responsibilities. For example, we have “make your bed” and “keep your hands to yourself”. It is part of our bed time routine to look over our chart and recap the day while giving them their stars. We also offer commissions. This is when they do something that is above and beyond their normal responsibilities. For example, if they put something away that doesn’t belong to them, or making mommy and daddy’s bed. We realized we were constantly saying no and telling them what they were doing wrong. We needed to find reasons to look for the good in the day and end each day on a good note. If they don’t succeed, we talk about how tomorrow is a new day and they can start over. It works wonders.
4. Get them out of the house every day.
This is key. They have so much energy. They need adventure, they need to tire themselves out. Let them be free, let them make their own choices. Choose a park that is a safe place, where you can let them be free. All you need is thirty minutes. That time can make your day go much smoother.
5. Try to refrain from losing your temper.
Sometimes it takes everything I have to not lose my temper and some days I just can’t control it. I find the days that I keep it together, everyone gets along. There is A LOT less fighting and A LOT more smiles. We can’t get it right every day though. So, if you lose your temper, just give yourself grace and know that tomorrow is a new day.