Learning how to handle arguments—especially making up and moving forward!—is a big life skill for kids. And you don’t need us to tell you it’s one that takes a lot of practice! Review the steps below with your kids and talk about how to use them the next time things heat up. The goal will be for them to eventually manage the steps (mostly) on their own, but be prepared to ref until they’re ready. And don’t forget to download our Peace Pact. It won’t guarantee the fights will end, but it will help ensure everyone’s committed to making up!
Step 1: Calm Down. It’s very hard to talk or even think when you’re upset, so encourage them to do whatever they need to do to feel more in control. Some ideas: Leave the room, take slow, deep breaths, or count to 10 (or 100!).
Step 2: Talk & Listen. Once everyone is ready, come back together. Each person now has a chance to describe the problem. The rules: Listen without interrupting, and be honest about your part.
Step 3: Think of Solutions. The best solution will be one that works for everyone, which will likely be a compromise. Learning to meet in the middle will save them years of grief!
Step 4: Hug & High Five! Now’s a great time to say “I’m sorry.” Hugs help too. Most of all, celebrate their awesome problem-solving skills!
Consider these printable kindness coupons a little incentive to help your kids get along. Have each child think about who they’d like to give them to and what little promise of help they’d like to make. They can even make a few copies to create a special book! If they need a little inspiration on what they can offer to sibs, share these ideas:
Knights had shield designs that represented who they were and what they stood for. Often, this special coat of arms came to represent their family as well. Why not encourage your kids to create a coat of arms for your clan? Here’s what to think about:
• Four symbols or pictures that represent your family and what you value most
• Your family motto (it can go in the bar across the middle)
• The year your family was established (this can be your anniversary or the year your first child was born!)
• Your family name goes in the ribbon at the bottom with your “year of establishment” on each end.
How many leaves are on your family tree? Download this family-history activity for your kids and encourage them to write one relative’s name on each leaf. (You may want to grab a sheet of green paper or card stock; otherwise, just have the kids color in the leaves as they like!) Simply glue or tape them to the tree and display proudly!
Our pet responsibilities log helps kids build confidence, independence, and, of course, responsibility! Print one out for each child and each pet, decide which jobs everyone will do, then post it up in a convenient place where it can’t be missed.
Need a quick craft for the kids to make for someone who’s not feeling well? Just download our color-in feel-better card, and let them go to town. If you have a little more time, they can even make a simple tissue-paper flower to go with it!
One of the most important things you can do to help your kids get a good night’s rest is to establish a sleep routine. No doubt you did this when they were babies, but it’s important to keep it up as they get older (it’s helpful for adults too!). When you do the same things each night before bed, your brain gets the message that it’s time to head off to Dreamland. Get your kids involved in the process, and let them choose—within reason—what they’d like to do before bed. There really should only be three or four things max (including brushing teeth!), and the whole thing shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes or so.
What’s particularly crucial for success? Turning off the devices an hour before bedtime. The bright light from screens, including the TV, can interfere with the body’s internal clock. It literally tricks the brain into thinking it’s daytime…and not time for sleep. Go over our list of ideas below with your kids (feel free to add your own), then download the My Wind-Down Routine printable using the button above. They can fill it out and post it up next to their bed. Sweet dreams!
• Turn off all the screens • Dim the lights • Draw • Play a quiet game • Listen to quiet music or white noise • Write in a journal • Listen to a calming audiobook or podcast • Read a book • Take a bath or shower • Eat a healthy snack • Drink warm milk or chamomile tea with honey • Say prayers or give thanks