Summer holidays: 3 things I am doing to help diffuse sibling fights 1 month ago

Summer holidays: 3 things I am doing to help diffuse sibling fights

My children are, I assume like most siblings, both the best of friends, and yet also, at times, the absolute worst of enemies.

This juxtaposition is often highlighted during times like summer holidays or travels, when we spend almost every second of every day together.

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful that they have each other to play with and watch movies with, and go on long adventures on their scooters with and play in the hotel pool with. But there are also days when I am absolutely worn out breaking up fights over Pokemon cards or who's turn it is to watch YouTube or screaming matches over who can really hula hoop the longest.

Which is why I have implemented a few 'house rules' for keeping tensions at bay – and keeping us all sane all summer.

And while I think some flexibility is important, I will not budge on these three:

1. Daily outdoor exercise

I don't know if it is my Norwegian genes, but I am all about outdoor play – and raising outdoorsy kids. Not just during holidays, but always. I am a firm believer in the power of fresh air – and the old Norwegian saying: "There is no such thing as bad weather, you are just wearing the wrong clothing."

So what this means, is that every day, our most important daily activity is our outdoor time. Walks, hikes, cycles, playgrounds, swims – you name it, we do it, both when we are at home, and also when we are away. I know that this exercise does us all good physically, but it also works wonders in improving moods and keeping everyone happier and less likely to fight – or complain about being bored.

2. Keeping us all on a relatively normal schedule

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I know the summer holidays are amazing, but they are also long. And much as I revel in having mornings with no rush and evenings where we can all stay up a little later, I also know that after a few days of not sleeping enough, my children's moods start taking a turn for the worse.

And so even when it is holidays, we do try to – at least within reason – to stick to normal-ish get-up times and meal-times and bedtimes.

This might not sound like a holiday to some people, but to us, I think, is crucial to keep everyone feeling their best and being in a good mood.

3. Make time for one-on-one and give each other space

My children are three years apart in age, and much as they play well together most of the time and genuinely like the same shows and movies on Netflix (which comes in handy for all our movie nights), they also need some space from each other sometimes.

And so if we are at home, this might be their own rooms that they can retreat to, but when we are away, this is not so clear-cut.

However, I often find that it helps when we try to schedule in some time every day when I get each of the children on their own, where we can chat or just snuggle or read a book, just the two of us. Or maybe go out for ice cream or hot chocolate with just one of them works too – and I think not only do they benefit from this, but to parents, it can be a great thing too, to get to spend time one-on-one with just one of the kids.