7 Simple Secrets to
Help the Kiddies Get Along, Curb their Bickering,
Still Have Fun at Your House
By Michele Borba, Ed.D.
Author of Nobody Likes
Me, Everybody Hates Me:
The Top 25 Friendship
Problems and How to Solve Them
neighborhood kids have chosen your home as the �cool� place to hang out.
Great, eh? But you know the reality: Whenever kids get together,
blissful, happy times are not always the outcome. If you�re at your wits
end from hearing kid-battles and are tired of refereeing or playing
�negotiator,� have faith. There really is a way to curb kid bickering,
tattling, and tears, and save your sanity. Here are a few secrets that
teach your kids how to get along, tattle less, and solve their problems
without you. The result: happier kids, more peaceful homes,
and a saner you. What could be better?
1. Enforce a �No
What kid wants to
be around a pal who always wants to snitch? So nix tattling, pronto. Lay
down one law: unless the report is intended to keep the accused out
of trouble or harm you won�t listen. The rule could be as simple as:
�Is this helpful or unhelpful news?� And then consistently enforce the
policy every time your kid � or his friends -- tattles.
2. Buy an egg
A frequent reason for bickering is when one kid dominates others or
doesn�t allow the same time on a task. So teach your kids to use an egg
timer (or egg timer, stopwatch or sand timer) to make things fair. They
first must agree on a set amount of time�usually only a few minutes�for
using an item. When the time�s up, their turn is over. And everyone
stays happy (including you).
3. Put away the
There are certain
possessions that are very special to your child�as well as to other
family members. So put those items away before a guest arrives. It
actually minimizes potential conflicts. Then say, �Anything you leave
out are things you have to share.�
scissors; drawing straws; picking a number; flipping a coin�these are
old-time favorites that come in handy when kids can�t decide on rules,
who gets to choose what to do, or who goes first. Teach them to your
children so they can use them with their pals to help reduce those
squabbles on their own.
5. Create activity
To minimize conflicts (and those �there�s nothing to do� complaints),
create a few �activity bins� (baskets, boxes, or plastic bins) stocked
with a few toys and age-appropriate activities: Play-Doh, and cookie
cutters, bubble blowers, art supplies, a craft set, and a pack of cards.
These are great to help kids unwind or give them quieter play moments
even away from one another. A brand new video, coloring or comic books
is great to keep tucked away for those �when all else fails� moment
Plop the kids down, hand them a comic book, and give yourself a
6. Forget odd
There�s truth to
that old saying: �Two�s company, but three�s a crowd.� An even number of
kids playing together usually is better than an odd number, simply
because there�s less likelihood that one kid will be left out. So if
bickering continues with certain kid combinations, set a rule for
�pairs� only�and refrain from a three-some.
7. Keep out of it.
hear an argument brewing, stay within earshot, but jump in only when
emotions are too high but before an argument escalates. Too much
adult interference not only makes kids depend on you to solve their
problems, but can actually escalate the squabble.
# # # # #
Ed.D. is an internationally
recognized educational consultant who has presented workshops to over
one million participants. She is an award-winning author of 20 books
including Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me and No More
Misbehavin�,and is recognized for her practical, solution-based
strategies to strengthen children�s character, behavior and social
development. She has appears on talk shows including, Today, The
Early Show, Canada AM, The View, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, and Talk
of the Nation and is an advisory board member for Parents
magazine. For more about Dr. Borba�s work see: