Sibling rivalry was pretty much ruining my life as of a few weeks ago, and my options were either to sell the children into slavery, or to conceive of a way to motivate good behavior. I chose the former, but couldn't get Todd on board. He misses out on most of their corrivalry, and is thusly quite attached to them. So I embarked upon a journey to locate, and lure, whatever inner angels had withstood all the gruesome battling. It is with some shame that I confess to you that I have relegated my 8 and 9 year olds to a chart system.
The only chart we have ever used was for potty training a million and one years ago, but it was a wild success. Each kid trained in under a week. Nevertheless I felt a little like I was insulting them to implement these charts, but they have responded so incredibly well, I'll take anyone to the mat about it now, lol.
So Quinn and Rei each have a small chart, with 80-something squares, and they get a star sticker (those ones that our teachers used) for showing exceptional effort to be kind/considerate/tolerant/patient/non-violent towards one another. They do not get stars for adhering to a base level of courtesy or manners, nor for making their beds, doing schoolwork, or brushing their teeth without being asked, for these things are all expected of them. They get stars for walking away from a fight, compromising, negotiating, being generous beyond expectation (giving up the front seat), and for going long periods of time interacting peacefully, and in a way that doesn't make me want to slit my wrists. They may not ask for stars, or point out their good behavior. As you can see from the picture, I am not liberal in doling them out, though secretly, I do delight in it. I love the way they beam when I recognize their achievements, and I am proud to say that chivalry is becoming the norm around here. When their cards are full, they will receive $20, which isn't that much, so I'm surprised at how hard they're working. I'd like to think that underneath all the surliness are two kids who want to please their mama.
Anyway, that's what we're doing, and it's working wonders.
Oh, my kids have code names for some odd reason, don't ask me why. Reilly goes by "Fathom," and Quinn by "Zerix."