It’s a crazy phenomenon. At the start of every summer my children transform from being (somewhat) well-behaved creatures who follow a regular routine to nutty little beings who want to defy schedules and rules of discipline. It’s like the end-of-school dismissal bell is an opening bell for an all-out, summer-long boxing match that takes place in my house, in the car, at the pool – and just about every where my kids seem to spend more than five minutes together.

I’m pretty sure this happens in other homes too, which is why I thought it would be fun to research creative ways to curb the quarreling. Here are some fun tactics I plan to try at home this summer:

The Rock Jar

Find a large jar and fill it with rocks. Then collect smaller jars (one for every child), and have your child put his/her name on their small jar and decorate however they wish. Then, whenever a child does something good, they get to put a rock in their own small jar (with parent’s permission – the child cannot put a stone in the smaller jar whenever they want). But, whenever they do something bad, Mommy or Daddy takes a rock out of their smaller jar and puts it back into the large jar. Whoever fills up their smaller jar first, wins a prize.

Chores, Chores, Chores

Ashleigh W, a TMoM team member, suggests setting up a chore jar, filling it with slips of paper (with one chore written on each slip). Each time a child acts out of line, ask them to pull a chore from the jar and get to work. This trick works wonders, and can help you get much more done around the house this summer too!

Show Your Love

The last thing a child wants to do after fighting with a sibling is to show any affection. One of my Facebook friends posted a picture of her children wearing one large “time-out” t-shirt. It forced the fighting siblings to sit close together for a certain amount of time. Another friend had her three children sit in a circle and hold hands for a specified “time-out” period. This tactic works well, especially if your child is old enough to go through the “embarrassment stage.”

Your Day, Your Way

I love this idea. A mom blogger shared this trick to end the fighting over sharing. Find an old calendar and alternately write your child’s names on the days of the week. If a child has his name written on a particular day, then it’s that child’s special day to pick a TV show, game, or something else that is meant to be shared. There’s no need to fight over who goes first or who goes last because whoever “has” that day gets the final say or choice. Cute idea!

Three Strikes And You’re Out

This is an age-old tactic we use with our kids whenever we travel by car. The basic underlying premise is that your kids get “three strikes and then they’re out” (meaning they either get a time out, lose the chance for a prize at the end of the trip, or something else). But you can also have your kids earn “runs” and “points” along the way. For instance, if they strike out but show good behavior (or show they’re truly sorry), give them an opportunity to earn a run and remove one of their strikes.

Vent It

Kathleen K, a loyal TMoM reader, has two young boys with lots of energy. When one of them starts to get naughty – or shows signs that he has anger or frustration to work out – she sends him to his room and tells him to take it out on his pillows. Better yet, purchase a punching bag for his room and let him bout it out with the bag. As long as your furniture and bedding doesn’t get ruined, it could actually be great exercise too!