Teaching Kids to Get Along

image via Shaboom! from BimBam

Are your kids in a rough and tumble phase? Do they fight like cats and dogs? Check out this guide for quick activities, videos, and stories, that help kids learn about shalom bayit or peace in the home.

To attain shalom bayit, family members need to listen carefully to one another, treat one another with respect, willingly cooperate with one another, and graciously forgive mistakes—all a bit of a heavy ask for toddlers or even tweens. So start small and infuse some fun in to your “get along” activities. The following videos, book list, crafts, and games, should help.

 

READ

A Big, Quiet House by Heather Forest

Recommended for children 4 to 5 years old

What should you do when you live in a very small house filled with children -- and lots of clutter? In this retelling of an classic Yiddish folktale, one family gets some very odd advice...that turns out to be exactly right.


A Song for My Sister by Lesley Simpson

Recommended for children 5 to 6 years old

Mira’s wish for a baby in the family comes true, but who knew how much noise she would make? No matter what Mira and her parents do, the baby’s reaction is WAAAA. On the day of her simchat bat (Jewish welcoming ceremony for a baby girl) Mira finally finds the answer to all the wailing!


Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles by Tami Lehman-Wilzig with Nicole Katzman

Recommended for children 6 to 7 years old

Jacob loves his brother Nathan, who has autism. When Hanukkah comes, Jacob worries that Nathan might embarrass him in front of his new friend. What if Nathan blows out the Hanukkah candles?!


The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg

Recommended for children 5 to 6 years old

The Schmutzys are messy all week long, and no one -- not even Mom! -- seems to care a bit. When Friday rolls around, everyone helps clean up as the family prepares for Shabbat


Terrible, Terrible by Robin Bernstein

Recommended for children 7 to 8 years old

In this contemporary take on a beloved Jewish folktale, a rabbi helps Abigail discover the wonderful aspects of her newly-blended family.

 

WATCH

These short videos help kids understand ideas like cooperation, compromise, and why it’s more fun to get along.

GET ALONG, GANG via Shaboom! from BimBam

THE COOPERATION SONG via Sesame Street

SHARING WITH MARGARET via Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood

 

DO

MAKE A CHORE CHART

image via CleanMama.net

Defining roles and responsibilities can go a long way towards keeping peace in the home. Plus a chore-chart is an easy, visual, reminder of who is in charge of what, and the extra responsibility makes kids feel important. Plus, when one child is playing fetch with the dog and the other is helping Dad unload the dishwasher, there’s not a lot of time for arguing. Visit the My Life and Kids blog for a list of different chore-chart templates.

TRY A GET-ALONG JAR

image via Kidspot Parenting

This little trick is a two-for-one in the shalom bayit department. Kids can work together to help you make the jar, and then put it to use when it’s needed. There are loads of tutorials on Pinterest for creating these-basically a “Get Along” jar is like a tip jar, but full of activity ideas to promote harmony among siblings. “Draw a picture together,” or “read each other a story” or “give each other a BIG hug” are some of the ideas that kids can pull from the jar. When siblings start to get riled up with each other, call for a quick “pause” in the action, have each child randomly pick an activity from the jar, and then both kids have to do the suggested item.

 

MORE

5 Ways I Keep the Peace in my House via The Washington Post
A “Tip Jar” to Help Siblings Get Along via What Do We Do All Day?
Getting Kids to Get Along via Parenting.com
Parenting Jewish Teens via MyJewishLearning.com
Parenting Kids Who Simply Don’t Get Along via Psychology Today

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