Summer is almost upon us and we all know what that means: kids spending more time at home=kids spending more time fighting. And I don’t know about you, but the fighting can really grate on my nerves and I don’t want to spend the whole summer being a referee! It makes for a miserable home life when there is constant sibling squabbling.
In our house, we actually have frequent discussions about how to love each other well and how the Bible tells us to treat people (a post for another day), but the “Get Along Jar” is for those moments when the kids have been given reminders, but just need something quick to change the way they are interacting with each other (with a side of consequences!)
Please keep in mind that my boys helped me come up with these activities. Different ones may work for you, but we picked “consequences” that were specifically geared toward my boy’s interests and worked well for their age difference (6 years). I highly recommended that you have your children help you come up with your own activities or at least agree to the ones below if you use them.
I think it is also important to outline what circumstances will cause your children to pull a stick, who will pull it and who has the consequence. In our house, I have the boys take turns pulling the stick and usually, both boys have to do the activity. In rare cases where just one child is responsible for aggravating his sibling, I will just have one child pull a stick and complete the activity. But we both know that that is rarely the case! They both know how to push each others buttons with the best of them!
The Get Along Jar
Jar Labels (Optional)
Large Craft Sticks (We used plain colored sticks because I have boys who would try to outsmart the system if they could remember the “good” ones based on color)
Thin sharpie or other good marker for writing on wood, Be warned, the ink spreads!
Ideas (see below)
Get Along Consequences:
1. Hug your brother for 1 minute.
2. Do a Mad Lib together.
3. Read a book to each other.
4. Wash your brother’s laundry.
5. Go outside and have a “real” wrestling match.
6. Give your brother 3 compliments.
7. Play a board game together.
8. Play hide and seek together.
9. Give your brother a hug for 1 minute.
10. Draw or paint a picture of your brother.
11. Wear a “Get Along Shirt” with your brother for 30 minutes (Kids wear an XXL Men’s t-shirt for 10-30 minutes and have to learn to work together.)
12. Sit on your brother’s lap for 1 minute.
13. Build a block tower with your brother.
14. Put away your brother’s laundry.
15. Draw and write a positive about your brother.
16. Get your brother a snack or a drink.
17. Play a card game with your brother.
18. Make your brother’s bed.
19. Watch your brother play screens.
20. Make up a story with your brother.
21. Weed the back hill with your brother.
22. Pick up your brother’s toys.
23. Go for a walk around the block with your brother.
24. Plan and make the next meal with your brother.
25. Clean the sliding glass doors together (one on each side).
26. Bonding activity of your choice.
Once you have come up with your own list of “consequences” (while some may be negative, most are actually fun), simply write each one on a craft stick and put it in a jar or some other type of container. I always try and give a reminder or warning before a stick has to be pulled, but so far our new system is really helping. I like that I don’t have to be the referee and I don’t have to come up with a consequence for all the fighting! My favorite part is simply that many of the activities actually change their interactions and the way they are playing together. Often times they actually begin to enjoy each other’s company!
What do you think? Is this something that might work for your kids when they are constantly fighting and squabbling? If so, what kind of activities might you use? I would love to add more to our “Get Along Jar” to help us get through the all this extra “together time” this summer!
Looking for more ways to encourage kindness and appreciation between your kids? How about try printing out these sweet signs and posting them on the refrigerator or framing and hanging them in a shared room? You can download them by signing up for emails below.