Sharing toys with siblings

Look quick – they are sharing!sharing

My house looks like a cross between a toy store and a bakery. Very messy ones. This is thanks to two birthdays, a family reunion and Christmas which all took place over the last month. The yummy food will disappear eventually but the “things” will fill my home (think game pieces under the couch) for months to come.

Now we move onto fighting about toys (while on a sugar high). No doubt your children have also received toys that mean a tremendous amount to them. My daughter literally barks at her brother if he even dare to stand too close to her Barbie Dream House.

How do we help our children learn to co-exist and share their treasured belongings?

Here are some thoughts to consider:

Do you even remember how hard it is to share? Imagine if your co-worker came up to you and grabbed your i-phone out of your hands. I’d bark at that. It would do you some good to remember that sharing is hard stuff.

I believe children should have some ownership over their “things.” If they received a special gift and would prefer that no one else touches it (for now). They should be able to (reasonably) express that and have their request granted.

Have your son or daughter play with a special item in their room or a separate area away from a sibling. I always had my son play at the table when his sister was young enough that she couldn’t disturb his play up there.

Encourage your children to speak instead of grabbing toys out of one another’s hands. (this has happened a thousand times in my house but I think the kids are finally getting the idea!)  Stop the grabbing and remind them to ask first (nicely).

Help them express what they cannot. “Looks like you’d really love to check out her doll house. She doesn’t seem ready yet. Why don’t you and I play with (fill in the blank).”

“I know your doll house is special. Your brother would love to have a closer look. Why don’t you show him Barbie’s special kitchen table.”

Remind them of good deeds. “Remember how nice it felt when your brother let you play with his Star Wars ship. I bet he’d feel good if you let him play with your doll house.”

Expect some bickering over items but try to keep your cool and when possible let them work it out on their own. You only have to intervene when 1) someone could get hurt or 2) they are too young to problem solve alone.

Here’s to happy play!

Heather

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