Thursday, January 24, 2013

My 5 Minute Rule...

My girls are 7 (on the downhill slide to 8) and 3 (ALMOST 4), and they love each other so much! They're really best friends. But they're still sisters. Which means they fight. Sometimes loudly. And sometimes more than necessary because one is intentionally aggravating the other. Which of course means I have to hear about it. I don't mind hearing about it so much when its far and few between and someone has really committed an awful crime against sisterhood. However, I don't like hearing about it when its petty whining.
"She won't let me give her a hug!" 
"She's sitting in my chair!" 
"She moved MY pony!" etc. 
And its really obnoxious when its all the time. They were getting particularly tattle-taleish and whiny a couple of weeks ago. They were literally fighting with, aggravating, and tattling on one another every 5 minutes or so. The General and I were at our wits ends!! 

We tried, the "Get Along" shirt

That totally did NOT work! All it did was cause my clumsy children to become even more clumsy and fall on top of each other constantly.

I tried listening to each of their grievances and punishing them each accordingly, but they were both in trouble so often for so many different random things that I forgot who was supposed to do which punishment. So THAT idea didn't work.

The hubs and I tried acting like them and reversing the roles on them. He would ask me for a hug and I'd say no, so he would run crying and whining to one of them saying "Momma won't let me hug her!" or he would sit down somewhere and I would run to the other kid and say "Daddy took my spot!!!" They just thought this was funny. They totally did not get the message we were trying to send.

Finally- I had what turned out to be a stroke of genius! I came up with the 5 minute rule!!

Because I was so tired of sorting out who did what to who and if it really happened like they said it did and so on and what forth and trying to punish the proper kid with right discipline, I decided that if either of them came to me to tattle on the other, they would each lose 5 minutes off their bedtime of the normal 8:30pm (on school nights- 9:00 pm on weekends). If they complained about dinner or what we were watching or something else petty that particular kid would lose 5 minutes. If I heard an abundance of fighting, they would both lose 5 minutes. I was tired of playing the referee so rather than sort through the girly drama (which I know will be plentiful in the years to come!) they needed to learn to handle it between the two of them if they didn't want to go to bed early. They also have the ability to EARN 5 minutes past their bedtime (30 minute earning max), if I see them displaying good behavior and getting along nicely with their sisters. I made the form below to help keep track of who had to go to bed when. I have it posted in the living room and move a small clothes pin up or down on each side to keep track.

I have to say that this has worked AMAZINGLY!!!! I saw a dramatic decrease in fighting, whining, and complaining within ONE DAY!!! By the end of the weekend, it had all but stopped completely. I am still shocked at how well its working. Whether it will continue to work still remains to be seen, but its been holding strong for about 2 weeks now so here's to hoping! Until next time...

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