Fellow parents, if you have just Googled, “how to get your kids to stop fighting,” I assume you feel a bit desperate (like I have). First, I just want to say I am with you! My gosh, I have been at my wits’ end with my kids basically trying to take each other out like they’re in the Hunger Games. Therefore, I set out on a quest to gather tips from other moms and research and test theories on my children as if they were my little test rats. And now, I am sharing those findings with you.
First, I’m going to share some advice from other moms who were willing to give their input on this topic. Then, keep reading for more tips and ideas I’ve compiled based on research and trial and error on my own part.
How to Get Your Kids to Stop Fighting: Advice from a Bunch of Seasoned Mothers
Here is some advice on dealing with sibling conflict that I have gathered from many different seasoned mothers:
“As a mom of three kids five and under, one of my biggest tips is to first accept that siblings fight, especially ones that are close in age. One of the things we do in our family is we’re very mindful about taking turns and giving each of them their own spaces to play and create. When arguments arise, we try to let them work it out first before separating them for some independent play time. I also believe in the value of uninterrupted one-on-one time with each of your kids. It really makes a difference in their behavior when they can get 100% of your attention!” – Siobhán Alvarez Borland from BirthandPostpartum.com
“Personality plays a lot in understanding what the driving reason for the fighting is. In my case, when my 4 year old son gets bored he starts to pester his older sister. As the parent, recognizing the trigger can help you prevent the fight or stop it quickly and redirect.
Watch for patterns on when fighting starts and you should be able to lessen the amount of conflict that happens. It could be driven by boredom, jealousy, attention seeking, or their communication skills aren’t there yet.” – Christina from Mamacelebrates.com
“I homeschool my four kids, so we spend a LOT of time together! One thing that we’ve discovered we need is enforced “quiet time” or “alone time.” For an hour a day, usually after lunch or mid-afternoon (depending on the youngest’s naptime), we go into separate rooms. One kid will be in the play room, another a bedroom, and another outside even. As long as they stay in that area the entire hour and there’s no interaction, then they can kind of do what they want: read, play, nap (especially the oldest haha!). It makes a HUGE difference in how smoothly the afternoon goes. When it’s over, they come back together mentally recharged and refreshed, as opposed to overstimulated.” – Tiffany Thomas from SavingTalents.com
“Getting your older children to help in small ways can help shift their feelings towards their siblings and allow them to fill the role of ‘older sibling’, protector and helper. For instance, if your older child can help grab you a diaper during changing or pass you the baby’s shoes once they’ve got their own shoes on… You can use moments like this to talk about how your younger child is still small and learning and what a great helper your older child is, which reinforces good behavior.” – Isabelle from Mamasbuzz.com
“Positive reinforcement can make a big difference in helping children get along with their siblings. When you consistently tell a child they are great at sharing, a good helper, and praise them for being gentle with their brothers and sisters, they begin to believe it about themselves and internalize the praise. As a parent, spend as much time as you can looking for moments throughout your day to praise even small moments of good behavior and it should lead to MORE good behavior. It can be tough at first to shift your focus as a parent from only correcting bad behavior towards praising good behavior but I promise it makes a huge difference!” – Debbie from CraftyKidsPlay.com
As a mom to two toddlers, one whom is autistic and I’ve worked with a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who specializes in Infant-5 child development doing project design work, content creating, editing, and blog writing for my 2 top tips would be:
1) Siblings fight, it’s not necessarily about stopping the fighting, but building problem solving skills so that they can learn how to solve their problems as they get older. How do we help them develop these skills? If a child takes a toy from another and they’re both crying – you explain that you’d like to hear both sides of the story. Ask child 1 their side. When they’re done, ask child 2 their side. Once you’ve heard both sides, narrate back what happened and allow them to give suggestions on how they can solve this problem. Be their guide – don’t take over the process for them, and make sure each child is getting a chance to contribute. If things get heated, it may be time to separate and try again once tempers cool off.
2) Begin teaching children about feelings and how their actions impact others early! My favorite is a book called “Have you filled a bucket today?”. This book teaches children the importance of filling others buckets through kindness and the impact it also has on ourselves. It also covers the impacts of being a bucket dipper (or not so kind). My own toddlers love this book!” – Karissa from MomAfterBaby.com
“Foster a sense of unity among siblings by encouraging shared activities and experiences. Whether it’s family outings, game nights, or collaborative projects, these shared moments can strengthen the bond between siblings and reduce the likelihood of conflicts.
Also, children learn by example, so model effective conflict resolution and communication skills daily. Show them how to express emotions calmly, listen actively, and work towards compromise. Modeling these behaviors reinforces the importance of respectful interactions within the family.” – Sharon from Rediscoveredfamilies.com
How to Get Your Kids to Stop Fighting – More Ideas, Tips & Tricks:
- Breathe before you react: Next time you witness sibling fighting, take a deep breath before intervening to stay calm. If you just join in the fight, it does not calm the situation.
- Spend quality time with each child individually: We have found one thing that helps with reducing sibling squabbles is spending one-on-one time with each kid. Chris and I each make a point to do “dates” with each of our 3 kids, on a rotation.
- Conflict resolution: Teach kids about conflict resolution skills using age-appropriate language and examples. Bottom line is, they will have some conflicts. Sibling fights are part of how they learn to deal with them.
- Have a chat before you do things: Set ground rules for acceptable behavior during board games or other shared activities in the living room.
- Get them involved in the resolutions: Encourage the development of problem-solving skills by involving siblings in finding solutions to their disputes.
- Teach them to listen to each other: Foster interpersonal skills by teaching children to express their feelings and listen to their siblings’ points of view.
- Zero tolerance for physical violence: Address physical aggression immediately, emphasizing the importance of using words instead of resorting to violence.
- Praise kind behaviors: Recognize and praise instances of prosocial behavior, reinforcing positive feedback for kind actions.
- Give lots of positive attention: Provide opportunities for positive attention by highlighting each child’s strengths and accomplishments.
- All about the family values: Incorporate family values into discussions about how siblings should treat each other.
- Teach them about respecting different points of view: Use conflict resolution techniques to help children understand different points of view and find common ground.
- Set up personal space boundaries: Consider each child’s personal space and teach them to respect it to avoid power struggles.
- Let older siblings be positive role models: Provide opportunities for older kids to teach younger siblings about the importance of positive behavior.
- Exercise helps attitudes: Use ball games or other physical activities to channel excess energy positively and reduce conflicts.
- Learning opportunities: Acknowledge that conflicts may arise, but emphasize that they are an opportunity for growth and learning.
- Teamwork makes the dream work: Involve children in the establishment of family values, giving them a sense of ownership.
I hope these tips, tricks and advice from other moms has helped you navigate the hell that is dealing with your kids fighting. If nothing else, know that you are not alone! We are all trying to figuring this out, and you are not failing as a parent if your kids are fighting all the time. You’ve got this! If you have ideas, tips or tricks that have helped you, please comment and share!
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Hi, I’m Jessica! I am wife to Chris, and mom to Kaiper, Alana and Koa. I am a graphic designer, website developer and aspiring author. In this space, I share about everything from parenting, working from home, food we cook, and lots of things for kids! Learn more about me here.