different ages respond to different things.
i have all ages. :)
here are some ideas i've gathered:
1. Sour words? Give them a medicine dropper-ful of VINEGAR. (from my sister-in-law).
I've used soap before, but i LOVE vinegar. My 3 year old has been biting her 5 year old sister. The 5 year old instigates with teasing words. I knew biting was something that i needed to come down on hard and fast... so, last time they fought i sat them both on my counter and squirted vinegar into their mouth. I always say, "oh, this is so sad. when you use sour words you have to get sour stuff. your mouth doesn't like sour words... she only wants to speak SWEET words to her sister, and she NEVER bites." Things like soap, or pepper, or vinegar don't have to be repeated often in my home. But they are remembered as horrible and usually i just have to gently ask, "Are you speaking sour words?" and my kids change pronto.
2. You were best friends in Heaven. I got this idea from Shawni. It has been so fun for me to remind my kids that Heavenly Father sent them to the earth as siblings because they were best friends in Heaven. Heavenly Father sent them to love one another and help each other here on Earth. I love the little grins they get on their faces when I remind them of their eternal promises to care for each other. This has been a great reminder.
3. We're HIKING together. as we were memorizing Mosiah 4:14-15 in family night the phrase "you will teach them to WALK in ways of truth and soberness" stuck in my mind. I talked about hiking 5 miles at girl's camp... about happy hikers and cranky hikers. How we were only as fast as the slowest hikers. I told them that my FAVORITE people were the ones who encouraged the cranky hikers. Come on friend, you can do it. I'll carry your pack for you. Let's sing together. You're doing a great job. We're almost there. This was a great reminder to Todd and me also. Now, at the end of the day, when we are both about to loose it... we just smile and say, "We're almost at the top Happy Hiker!!" It changes the mood instantly.