The bickering and teasing, mixed with occasional laughter, was reaching fever pitch. The baby was supposed to be napping. At the end of a long day, I was not handling the fighting and noise level well.

But, by the grace of God, I had a lightbulb moment.

The likelihood of them fighting would decrease exponentially if I gave them a task they needed to complete together.

I gave them puzzle to do. It was a rather difficult one – too hard for Little J and challenging for Big J.

“How fast can you finish this puzzle TOGETHER?” {I made it sound like they NEEDED each other.}

And it was fairly quiet for the next twenty minutes as they worked on it.

TWENTY minutes. Do you know how glorious twenty minutes of quiet is to a stay-at-home mom?!

I’m going to call it a “teamwork timeout.” I won’t tell them that – it’ll be our little secret. It’s a timeout for me as much as it is for them!

I’m making a list of a bunch of games or tasks they have to complete together that I can pull out when the decibel {and irritation} level are rising.

A few things on my list already…

  • Build a Lego city.
  • Count all of the pencils in the house.
  • Make one giant birthday card for a friend or family member.
  • Write out a list of all the superheroes you know.
  • Make up a puppet show to perform for the rest of the family.

Sure, these might be things just to keep the boys busy, but if they are busy AND working together on a common goal, they are learning about teamwork and cooperation without me having to say a thing.

And I don’t lost my sanity in the process!

*Side note – After twenty minutes, I started to feel a little less crazed. I went down to check on them to find that they were stuck on the puzzle, but still working and not fighting. I sat down and helped them finish. It was a good moment. For all of us.

What would you add to the “teamwork timeout” list for a four-year-old and six-year-old boy? What would be on the list for your children?