The fighting never ends around here! If I hear my 7-year-old shout "Moooooooom he's bugging me!" one more time I'm going to tear my hair out! How can I get them to live together in peace?
It's amazing how children living under the same roof can be each other's very best playmate or very worst enemy, and the roles can change on a minute by minute basis! Most of us can remember it well from our own childhood: "She took my bike!" "He drew in my colouring book!" "She pulled my hair!" (Sis, if you're reading this...I'm apologizing again!)
Alas, I don't have a magic solution to make it stop for good, but I do have a few suggestions to help you manage the bickering constructively.
Ignore: Unless there's blood, try to ignore some of the day-to-day sibling squabbles and let them sort it out for themselves. They're stuck with each other for years to come so if mama is always playing referee, not only is she going to drive herself crazy, but the kiddies won't have an opportunity to establish the ground rules that work for them.
Beware of the bully: Depending on your family dynamics, your quiet older child may be continuously terrorized by the younger members, or you may have a bossy first-born and a baby who idolizes him. If you see a pattern where one child is doling out a lot more grief than the rest, you may need to step in. These dynamics may be tolerated at home but they won't fly with peers. Encourage your children to practice social skills that will set them up for good peer relationships.
Nanny Carrie's Tip: Choose a family catch phrase for when the kids have had enough. Whenever one child says "I'm serious" the other sibling must back off. It applies for all hair pulling/poking/tickling/general annoyances. (Bear in mind it may get overused for the first little while, but once the novelty wears off they'll realize it's not much fun to rain on the parade and only use when they've really had enough.)
What tricks have you come up with to manage sibling battles in your house?