One way to handle a flare-up is to set ground rules, LeComer says. Tell them, "You can play with the Wii, but if I hear fighting, I'll turn it off." Then try not to jump in at the first sign of trouble. Letting kids handle minor disagreements is a good way for them to learn how to speak up for themselves.
But if things get aggressive or one kid comes tattling to you, here's what you can do:
Give them a gentle reminder. Just telling kids to keep their voices down can sometimes defuse tensions.
Sit them down. Tell them they need to work out a plan for playing nicely.
Distract them. They may be bored or hungry, so let them come up with a project they can work on together. Or offer a snack -- food usually helps.
Run 'em around. If they're antsy -- and the weather allows -- send them outside to blow off that extra energy.
If the squabble turns into a brawl, separate the kids, says LeComer. Don't blame anyone. Once they're calm, suggest they talk it out.