When you have more than one child within close age ranges to each other, it’s inevitable that quarreling and power struggles will break out. The last thing I want to do is spend my day breaking up arguments and playing referee over, well, EVERYTHING — it’s also exhausting when the kiddos fall into these negative cycles. So, one day, in this exhausted state, I took to the calendar and wrote each child’s first initial in the top left corner of each day and the “It’s Your Day!” Calendar Sibling-Peace Tool was born.
Sibling-Peace- it was very rare in our home during those days!
I needed something that would get all of our attention and help us to focus on training our hearts for peace. I showed the kids the calendar and I explained to them that we needed to work on not arguing about everything and that we needed to be happy for each other, even when the other person got what we wanted and, we needed to learn how to prefer others before ourselves. The “It’s Your Day!” Calendar was going to help us with that.
The kids had fallen into a very bad pattern of turning ANYTHING into an argument- who got to choose what to watch on TV, who got to hold the remote, who got to sit in a certain spot, who got to do their lessons first with mom, who got to play with certain toys at certain times… and ON AND ON it went!!! There was a constant power struggle between my kiddos. I would be so drained by the end of the day and I DREADED the next morning when I knew it would start all over again. No matter what I tried, it was just plain awful for all of us and I prayed for something that I could set in place that would help end the misery and help guide their hearts toward less selfishness and more peace for all of us.
The “Rules” are simple:
When someone’s initials are on a certain day, it’s their day. This means that you must consider them before yourself when making certain decisions. For example, at story time, the person whose initials are on that day, gets to choose which story we read first. The rest of us don’t argue, complain or pout that we were not first. The “It’s Your Day!” person can choose to let someone else have the say in any situation, and is encouraged to do so at different times so that they do not always think of only themselves.
If an argument over a thing starts, we ask “Who’s day is it?” –and then we encourage the children to choose to prefer that person and allow them to have that thing or choice first.
The “It’s Your Day!” Calendar does NOT give you the right to boss everyone else around, nor do you have the ‘right’ to demand your own way. If you are caught “bossing”, “lording” or displaying any other unbecoming attitudes, You lose “your day” immediately and have to wait until your next day to try again. No 2nd. chances. I’m VERY firm on this rule because heart-training is serious business!
In between all of this, we are having conversations about scripture, working on heart attitudes, praying with each other, etc… We don’t let the calendar take over, it is simply a tool to help us focus from day to day.
Here are some amazing things that have happened since we implemented the “It’s Your Day!” Calendar Sibling Peace Tool :
Sibling arguing has been DRASTICALLY reduced– I am doing a happy mama-dance over this!!! Because their initials are on the calendar, the power struggle is mostly eliminated. If Child #2 sees that Child #1’s initials are on for that day, they almost immediately give preference to them. They have the peace of knowing that their day is coming too. This alone has helped to eliminate fear of loss and the need to fight for what is perceived as ‘theirs’. Children often engage in a power struggle with each other because they are afraid of a perceived loss. It wasn’t until after we had done this for a while that I noticed this- there is a valuable kingdom principle being learned here: “It’s okay to prefer others because my joys and successes will come too.” I realized that there were deeper heart issues behind the arguing, like fear–and now, I can address them with scripture, training and prayer. Before, when the kids would argue and battle for power, it would escalate so badly that I struggled to train their hearts in the midst. Now, with all of us conscious of the calendar, we have much more calm, which paves the way for better communication to egt to the heart of the issue.
I see the children being happy for one another more, and supporting each others’ choices because they no longer fear that their sibling will have control over them or the house all the time. There is an atmosphere of peace because of this. They are learning that they can let go of their fears to be supportive and happy for others.
The kids are responding with much more respect because they now see that mom and dad are not trying to withhold anything good from them. Another scriptural heart issue! Our children first learn from their relationship with their parents, I can see how this principle is being displayed in our home right now. To have faith in God, we need to trust that He is a good Father who Gives good gifts, all we need to do is obey and trust in His Goodness, Fairness and timing. The kids trust that their day is coming and that the rules are fair. They abide by the rules (Obey) and then they get to enjoy the benefits.
Now, this approach hasn’t been fool-proof, you don’t get perfect kids out of a calendar on a wall. A lot of parenting work is going on throughout our days, but the calendar has definitely been a great tool to keep peace so that we can address some of the heart issues that I have been grieved over in our family. For some reason, the response has been amazing with mine. I almost liken it to a sticker chart. For some reason, having that tangible, visible reminder helps to focus us all in the right way.
Our days are more peaceful, we’re learning and teaching good lessons and everyone seems happier as a result. Sibling-Peace seems attainable to me as a mother now!
What are some ways that you help siblings to keep peace in your home?