Grandkids bickering? Try these easy solutions

Watching how our friends control their grandkids can be amusing, especially if they have grandchildren prone to squabbling or forgetting basic rules of courtesy. In some houses, chaos seems to rule at least part of the time. However, other grandparents have made a study of what works and come up with nifty ways for keeping the peace.

At one friends’ house they had a checklist of house rules with ticks and crosses next to it. Each time a grandchild would do something good, such as saying please and thank-you, they would get a tick. If they failed to do so, they would get a cross. While it sounds a little serious, they had ensured a fun element remained, with two of the rules being “You must have fun” and “You must laugh”.

I came across another way a parent has found works to control sibling rivalry on which grandparents could also use to good effect. And all it takes is a jar and some sticks.

Called the get-along jar, it is a jar of craft sticks that list ideas for things siblings can do together instead of fight and argue. Every time you catch them launching into a bickering fest, just hand them the jar and ask them to select a stick.

The creator said she thought it worked well for three reasons: it distracts the kids from whatever they were fighting over in the first place; it gives them something to do that requires them to cooperate or be together; and it makes them more mindful of their habit of bickering in the first place.

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To make a get-along jar, let  your grandchildren know what you are doing and be sure to let them know why you feel the need to bring it in. Ask the kids for their ideas of activities and tasks they think should be included.

Make up a label and glue it onto the front of your jar.

Write each idea on a piece of paper and glue it onto a popsicle stick or write it directly on the popsicle stick. Then, hey-presto, when they start bickering, draw one out and give it to them.

Here are some of the ideas had for suitable tasks:

  • Say three nice things about the other person
  • Turn on some music and dance together for at least five minutes
  • Read a storybook together, taking it in turns to each read a page
  • Set the table together
  • Clear out the car
  • Make up a ‘getting along song’ and perform it for the family
  • Make the other person’s bed

Most importantly, don’t forget to run whatever ideas you come up with for making your grandchildren’s visits as pleasant as possible past their mother or father before implementing them. Not only is it common courtesy to do so, but they might well have valuable suggestions to add or already developed their own methods.

Do you have any issues keeping order when your own grandchildren visit? Any magic tips you can share with other grandparents?