How to deal with 'Bickering and Sibling Rivalry'

Bickering and squabbles, does that happen with your kids in your household?

I used to deal with tantrums and routine issues, Alas! I have passed that stage (at least i believe so, crossing my finger and hoping it is not wishful thinking!). As my kids are growing older (8,5,4) there is this new 'Bickering and Squabble' phase that seems to have surfaced from no-where. It usually goes like this :

"Mom he’s calling me names”

“I did not, he’s such a liar”

“Mom he pushed me”

“That’s coz, he started it"

The easiest solution for a parent would be to ignore, and I plead guilty of using that tactic many a time (That’s just horrible, I know!) It usually come from a place where you want to distance yourself from conflicts . Ignoring is a tool, However, it is only a tool to be used when you have ascertained that your involvement is not necessary and at times you want your kids to learn problem solving on their own. I have realized that as parents one of our key responsibility is to teach our lil munchkins life skills - an important one being conflict resolution and making peace with family, friends and peers. 

Some steps I follow.

  1. Let the kids know, It is never OK to hurt someone and you respect the other - this is a non negotiable with the family
  2. Refrain from over-reacting as a parent.
  3. Do not take sides as a parent and be fair.
  4. If the fights escalates and it gets heated up, separate the siblings. 
  5. When they have cooled down have a talk with each of them and hear them out.
  6. Help each child hear the other. Make sure each apologies to the other and hugs.
  7. Work together with them on a resolution. State the issue and come up with the best possible resolution. When you are  helping kids decide on a resolution, consider the fact that each child's personality and temperament is different.

How do you help your kids make peace with their siblings or even peers? I would love to hear your tips and tricks.