Kids Arguing? 7 Sanity Saving Tips to Encourage Cooperation

If you are a parent of more then one child there will be moments when your kids arguing with each other will be a constant parenting battle. As a mom of three kids, I am always working on building and strengthening my kids relationships with each other. Helping your kids cooperate not only makes your house more calm, it builds their relationship, teaches them to respect each other, and with less kids arguing there is more time for family fun and connections.

This post is in partnership with Osmo. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The daily routine of school, after-school activities, homework, and bedtime can drain any parent. Add in kids arguing, and you are left with frazzled parents and a chaotic house. Although we can’t stop kids arguing all together, we can use activities to help them get along and strengthen their sibling relationships.

Kids Arguing? How to Encourage Cooperation

#1 Start with Understanding Each Child as An Individual

Before I became a parent I never realized how different each of my kids would be. Each of my kids has personality traits unique to them. These difference can often be what starts kids arguing. As parents it is our job to understand each child as an individual and to help them understand each other.

stop kids arguing

Take time to get to know your child and what makes them frustrated, happy, angry, and sad. When you understand these traits you can help teach your children how to better problem solve and decrease the amount of arguments in the house.

#2 Use Cooperative Games to Encourage Team Work

I don’t know about your house but at our house game night can end in battles and frustration. I know there has to be a better way and I am determined to teach my kids better ways to cooperate with each other. It is often difficult with different age siblings but teaching them to work together helps them at home and in life.

cooperative learning games

This year one of our family goals is to carve out more time together at home after dinner and on the weekends. An hour after dinner playing games, reading together, or doing a craft can help encourage team work in the family. It will not completely stop kids arguing but with consistency it will teach them how to work out their disagreements.

Over the holidays my kids received Osmo. I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to encourage team work and help teach them ways to play cooperatively.

What is Osmo?

Osmo is an award-winning educational gaming device that allows you to interact with your iPad or iPhone. It has 10 educational games that target kids ages 5-12. Playing Osmo is easy. Download the apps, connect your iPad to the console and get started. My kids received the Osmo Creative Kit and Pizza Co. for Christmas and they couldn’t wait to try it.

osmo creative kit and pizza co

The Creative Kit comes with a console for the iPad and a drawing board. It has 3 games that you install as apps on your iPad. They are Monster, Masterpiece, and Newton.  As of writing this, Osmo offers 10 different games. From word games, coding games, number games, and even Hot Wheels games, Osmo has something for everyone.

What I Loved about Osmo?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Osmo. I had done research and seen the videos online but I know that what you see and what you get can be different things. To say I was blown away is an understatement. Osmo was magical and fun for the entire family. The high quality of the games, the interactive elements, and the wide age range make Osmo an awesome addition to our toy collection. I’ve even started to research the coding games as possible birthday gifts this year.

playing osmo to encourage siblings to play

The activities are so fun and engaging. The first activity we did together was on Monster. We created a magic stage. My kids each drew a part of the story and they encouraged each other while playing. The next game we playing together was Pizza Co.

Pizza Co. is an interactive math game that comes with a pizza, toppings, and money. I was a little nervous about how Pizza Co would be for my 5 year old but you can change the level of difficulty. The game gets busy with new costumers and giving change and I thought it might frustrate the kids. Even when it got busy they worked together and encouraged each other to solve the problems.

cooperative play with osmo

Were the Kids Arguing While Playing?

I’m always going to be honest with you and I have to admit the kids did argue at times while playing. Do I believe it was a success? YES! My job as a parent isn’t to teach my kids that they will never argue, it is to teach them that they can have disagreements and figure them out. There were moments when the kids started arguing but solved the problem before I had to get involved. This is a parenting win!!

Not only did they work together, Osmo encouraged them to play more together. I overheard my son playing Osmo alone, a few minutes later he called out to his siblings “Anyone want to play Osmo with me?” The kids came running. I think they really enjoyed the team work of playing the games and creating something together.

#3 Set Realistic Expectations for Sibling Relationships

As a parent it is important to set realistic expectations for sibling relationships. Personalities may clash and they may not always get along. This should be seen as an opportunity to teach respect. At home and in life we may encounter people we do not agree with but it is important to show respect and kindness. Respect can be taught to children by showing how it is okay to peacefully disagree.

#4 Everyone Plays a Part In Our Family

My husband and I make it a point to tell the kids that everyone plays a part in our family. To keep our home running we all have to contribute. When everyone has a part, they feel needed and an important part of the family. They each need to know where they fit and how they contribute to the family.

stop kids arguing tips

When playing Pizza Co. each kids had a special job. One was the pizza maker, one handled the money, and another worked the iPad. They couldn’t do the job without each other. They saw how everyone’s part put together helps get the job done.

#5 Build Each Other Up with Team Building Activities

Another thing I like to do with the kids is a few team building activities. This might sound a little strange but trying it was a great idea for our family. Last year we made a poster that made the kids smile, built them up, and filled their hearts.

Each person in the family got a piece of paper with each family members name on it. There are five people in our family so each person had four papers. On the paper you had to write one thing you liked about the family members name that was listed on top. When we were finished we shared them with each other. Then glued them to poster board and hung it where they could see.

teach kids to stop arguing and problem solve

I didn’t realize the impact of this activity until I saw their faces light up. The kids arguing had reached an all time high and we needed to reconnect with each other. We needed to see each other in a different way. This activity strengthened their bonds and I would often see them going back to read it when they had a tough day.

#6 Allow for Alone Time

There are days when everyone needs some time alone. Each child or parent has different needs. Allowing alone time can save your family from chaos and stress. One of my kids needs more alone time then the others. Having space to decompress and work out thoughts makes for better communication and understanding of each other. When feelings of frustration start to occur my kids know they have a special place they can go for alone time to regroup.

cooperative play games with osmo

#7 Fill Their Cup

This is the most fun and the easiest way to encourage cooperation and stop kids arguing. Make them feel good. Say something nice or give an extra hug. Fill their hearts with positivity and your kids will be more cooperative. Encourage siblings to help fill each other’s cup by saying and doing nice things for each other.

Have each kid set a goal to do three nice things a week for their siblings. This may seem forced but it will help them become more aware of their sibling relationships and they will begin to strengthen the relationship.

Kids arguing will never be completely gone in a house with siblings. Preparing yourself to teach your kids how to work through their arguing will help encourage cooperation and build your family bonds. Finding ways to practice playing together with games like Osmo or team building activities will help your family have fun and grow together.

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  1. Momma To Go | 2nd Jan 18

    I love the idea of the four pieces of paper. When I was a teacher, I would do something similar but each paper had a kids name on top and you would write something nice, then pass it around. each time you wrote, you would fold it like a fan so the next person couldnt see. at the end of the circle you had one paper with all these nice things on it (this post made me think of that)

    • Leah | 2nd Jan 18

      Love that idea! We may have to try it! I came up with it by searching ice breaker activities and using stuff I did as a teacher too! It seemed funny to do it as a family but I was so happy we did. Sibling relationships are one of the first friendships our kids have and I really want them have strong ones.

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