I took both boys with me grocery shopping last weekend. When we got to the ice cream aisle, there was an immediate debate over which flavour we would get for the week.

“Rock, paper, scissors,” I immediately responded and the two boys threw down a quick Ro-Sham-Bo. Mint chocolate chip won.

But the rock paper scissors doesn’t always smoothly solve disputes between my boys. Is it two out of three? Was that really paper or were the fingers apart indicating scissors? If one child really wants something and loses, there is inevitable whining as to the fairness of the game.

However, after visiting some of my wife’s friends we haven’t seen in a few years this weekend, I learned the simple trick to end sibling rivalry forever.

It works over whose turn it is to set the table, it works over who gets to decide what movie on Netflix you’re watching, it works to determine what flavour of ice cream you’re having. BUT .. it only works if you have two kids.

The three word rule is: ODD or EVEN.

You assign a child as odd, the other as even. If the date is an odd number, the odd child rules the day, even wins on even days.

Then, whenever a debate is called to the floor for a parent to mediate, you simply say “odd or even” and walk away.

odd or even

Eventually the kids won’t even come to you. They will see the confrontation building and one will eventually just call “odd or even” on the other.

We’ve quickly implemented it into our parenting tool box and it has been genius. Just don’t forget which kid is assigned odd, which is assigned even.

Note: this technique also works on solving spousal debates.

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