My kids are at the point where they are sick and tired of being together. The summer started with backyard pool parties and sleepovers in the living room. After only a couple weeks of quality togetherness, the fighting had begun.
Fighting the Infighting:
- Become the Common Enemy. There are always activities that, as parents, we believe are important to have. “Forcing” everyone to read a book as a family, or to read a non-fiction book does more than expand little minds. It gives all of the kids a common enemy to focus their animosity on (the evil parents who are making them read). By the time the onerous activity is over, the kids have banded together as best friends once again.
- Start bath rotation earlier than usual. Sometimes singling out a particularly irritable child and separating him (or her) for a bath – or a nap – allows everybody to relax.
- Put on some tunes. Kids in close quarters (especially the car) have a hard time keeping themselves to themselves. Turning on some catchy tunes always quiets the snappish kids down. If nothing else, turning up the music loud enough drowns out even the most dogged complainer. There is nothing better than a car full of kids singing along together.
- Get Physical. Burning off steam at the park or on a hike leaves kids without much energy to fight. My neighbors probably hear me yell as I throw the kids out back, “You can come in when you can get along!” Funny how they’ve never loved their brothers more than after 10 minutes in the South Texas heat!
- Reverse Psychology. If all else fails, I’ll separate the kids into different sections of the house and FORBID them to play/speak/look at each other. It’s always so heartbreaking to hear how bored they are without anyone to play with (not really, I just tell them to clean the room they’re in). After 2.5 minutes of torturous alone time, they sneak off into a room together and play quietly (so I don’t catch them together).
There is such a thing as too much togetherness… But no such thing as too much ice cream.
Sometimes when things start to go south, I plan an inexpensive trip out of the house before the fighting can begin. For example, a drive to the store for a couple gallons of ice cream (versus individual cones) to take home.
We gave the girls (Numbers 2 and 3) money, and let them pick & buy the ice cream by themselves. They came back to the car, victorious, with Neapolitan.
Boys: What did you get?
Number 2: Napoleon.
Dad: It’s not called Napoleon.
Number 3: Why is it called Napoleon?
Dad: It’s NOT called Napoleon!
Number 2: Because it looks like the French flag.
What do you do to fight the infighting in your home? Drop a comment, and don’t forget to Share!