How I Got My Kids to Coexist Peacefully For a Week--or More!
A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my my plan for a summer of Peace, Love and Sibling Harmony with my kids. Because we were all home, they were all getting on each other's nerves, and tempers were very, very short. This meant that I was playing the role of peacemaker way more often than I wanted. Basically, my plan involved making the kids walk in each other's shoes for a week and spend time just getting to know each other as individuals. Hopefully, this would help the kids to get along better.
So, what happened?
First of all, I decided to treat this like an actual exercise in diplomacy because I really wanted them to take this seriously. We developed an action plan, put the plan in writing and stuck to the schedule as much as we could. I think this made it all seem more realistic and made the kids put more effort into the entire diplomatic exercise.
So, what did we do?
We kicked off the week with a short backyard ceremony in the evening. We went over the rules, lit a candle, and the kids held hands and sang Kumbaya--seriously! Then, they had to turn in all electronic devices and spend time talking with each other before bedtime. The four oldest share rooms, so we mixed up the room assignments so that they had new roommates.
Each day, one of the kids had to teach their siblings one of their favorite hobbies or interests. It was fun to watch them learning German, speaking Mandarin, trying on makeup, playing Minecraft, playing with Legos and learning the five basic dance positions.
They also had to switch chores so that each person had to try different jobs throughout the week.
On the last night, the kids spent the evening together, just hanging out and having fun. No electronics were allowed!
On the final day, we all enjoyed a special dinner and discussed the events from the previous week during dessert. The kids had to name something they learned about each other, say what they admired most about each other, and they also had to tell what type of behavior really set them off.
We ended the week with another candle-lighting ceremony, a pledge to consider each other's feelings before lashing out and a promise to be more respectful of everyone. Oh, and they did another round of Kumbaya, hand in hand.
So, did it work?
Surprisingly enough, the kids have made more of an effort to get along, and the experiment did seem to reduce the amount of petty fighting that was occurring daily. I know the kids will still argue and disagree -- that's part of human nature. But, if it starts to get out of hand, I threaten them with another week of sibling harmony, and they stop arguing right away!
Would you ever try something like this? If you have, I would love to hear about it.
Thanks for reading about our week of Sibling Peace, Love and Harmony -- have a peaceful, harmonious day!