Of course, after reading plenty of parenting books and articles, you know that it is absolutely essential that you never play judge. Taking sides is a big NO-NO because usually the one you thought innocent, isn't completely innocent. There is always a side of the story that you never got to see or hear. Parents are advised to help the siblings solve their own problems. Yeah, but how? Especially when you are talking about siblings below the age of 5? Well, here are my two ways:
- I put both of them on the bench (similar to time-out). They both have to sit facing each other. They get off when they have both decided to make up and be friends again.
It's usually the older one that will start initiating the peace talks cuz' they want to get off.
- Use the Love-ometer.
What's that? Well, I got the idea when I came across something written by a Sunday School teacher on how she managed to get her young kids to be reverent in her class. She had some sort of chart that would show the reverence level in the class. She didn't have to yell or shout. If the class got to noisy and chaotic, the reverence chart would be adjusted accordingly.
So I took that idea and taught my children that our home has a love-ometer (like a thermometer). When we do and say kind things, the love goes up. When we fight, quarrel, tease and say mean things, the love goes down. When there's plenty of love in the house, everyone is happy. But when the love goes down, the monsters all come out, especially Monster Mommy. And every kid will tell you that they really don't like it when Monster Mommy takes over their real Mommy.
So when the contention gets to high in my home, the children are reminded about the love-ometer. If the love level gets to low, they have to start doing things that will help push the love back up again e.g. saying sorry, sharing etc....
I was planning to do a craft on the love-ometer. Unfortunately I'm not to crafty and have yet to get it done. But even then, my invisible love-ometer seems to be pretty effective.