Young children (ages 1 to 3) are just beginning to learn the concepts of independence and possession. At this point, sharing can become difficult to do. If you are dealing with young children who are constantly fighting over toys, don't worry. His behavior is normal and appropriate for his age. The situation will improve as your children grow up. In the meantime, you can take steps to stay calm and teach your children how to get along with others.
Method 1 of 4: Part 1: Understand Young Children's Behavior
Step 1. Know that young children are working on their independence
Children as young as one or two are working to master a number of skills such as walking, running, and jumping. They are also improving their fine motor skills, such as using a spoon, drinking from a mug, and undoing buttons. These new abilities go hand in hand with developing a sense of self - the idea that they are independent beings who can control their own actions. These developments are normal and exciting, but parents and teachers do not consider them appropriate or acceptable (including fights over toys). Adults have to respect their stage of development while teaching them to respect reasonable limits.
According to Erik Erikson, a psychologist who developed a widely accepted theory of psychosocial development, children are in the midst of solving a particular developmental crisis: "autonomy (independence) versus shame and doubt." In other words, children are working to resolve the tensions between self-confidence and self-control
Step 2. Accept that young children are very emotional
Emotions tend to flow strongly during childhood. They have tremendous enthusiasm for all the new and different things that they are capable of doing, but at the same time they have to deal with "separation". Parents can leave children to play independently or to take care of themselves temporarily. This separation can be terrifying.
Step 3. Understand that normal toddler development involves fights over toys
The concept of independence, of course, depends on the basic understanding of the "self." Once young children understand the difference between themselves and others, they will also begin to focus on the concept of possession or property: "it's mine" as opposed to "not mine." Fighting over toys is a completely normal manifestation of this emerging knowledge. Sharing threatens children's perception of ownership of certain objects.
Method 2 of 4: Part 2: Teach Him the Concept of Sharing
Step 1. Explain to the children the concept of sharing
Emphasize that sharing is only temporary. Another child may play with his toy, but in the end he will always return it.
Keep in mind that sharing does not take away ownership. It is good to clarify it to children. You can tell them “that's your truck. You can let someone else play with it, but it's still yours. "
Step 2. Practice sharing
Before children begin to share their toys with other children, they can practice sharing with you. Ask the children, from time to time, to hand you their favorite toy. Give them their toys back after a certain interval of time. This will help children distinguish between borrowing and taking away.
Step 3. Emphasize the positives of sharing
Remind them that sharing a toy is a generous and kind gesture. Also, let them know that other children will also share their toys and everyone will be able to play with new and different toys.
Step 4. Prepare children in advance for situations that involve sharing
Talk to the children about what to expect on a preschool play day. Let them know in advance that they will share their toys.
Step 5. Teach them the importance of friendship
Explain what friendship is and teach children that friendship involves sharing toys and playing together without fighting.
Step 6. Observe the behavior of your children
It will help you figure out which of the children has problems. Does your child tend to take toys away from other children or does he fight with others who take his toys? Teach children to deal with these problems in the best way they can.
Step 7. Lead by example
Make the children see you sharing your things with others. If they ask you to play with something of yours, allow them (as long as it is a safe object for them and that will not be easily damaged). Emphasize the fact that sharing is only temporary and that you know that you will soon have the item back.
Method 3 of 4: Part 3: Avoid Conflict
Step 1. Avoid unnecessary stressful situations
Once you have observed the situations that involve sharing, you should be able to determine which situation it is that seems to cause problems for certain children. Is one of the children overprotective with a particular toy? Consider letting your child leave that toy somewhere else, away from other children, during play day.
Step 2. Choose your playtime wisely
Plan for the children to play together when they have rested and eaten. Children who are cranky, tired, and hungry are sure to fight over toys. Limit playtime to an hour or two. To extend this time would be to expect too much from a young child.
Step 3. Establish clear rules
Whenever children play together, it is best to establish clear and simple rules. Any toys that are not to be shared should be stored elsewhere. The rest of the toys must be shared without exception. Keep in mind to establish times for the use of the toys with which they play the most and make sure that the agreed limits are met.
Step 4. Offer alternatives
When a child has to give up his favorite toy for a while, offer interesting substitutes. If you give your child something fun to do, he may become so distracted that he will no longer argue over the original toy.
In general, it is best to have many options available. Have enough options on hand so that you will have multiple alternatives for each child
Step 5. Tell the children that the way to discuss sharing is with words
Instead of taking toys away from other children, you should teach them to ask first if they can take them. The appropriate language model for children of that age would be: "Can I play with him, please?"
Step 6. Encourage cooperative play
If children play a game that requires more than one person, be it a ball game or a blackboard game, they will be less likely to fight.
Method 4 of 4: Part 4: Deal with the Fights
Step 1. Try not to get involved right away
When squabbles break out between children, it is tempting to intervene right away. However, it is better to give them the opportunity to learn and grow. Let them try to resolve the conflict themselves.
Step 2. Remember the three “Cs”:
compassion, conviction and consequences. If children cannot resolve the conflict themselves, as they will in most cases, try to keep these three basic concepts in mind. Have compassion for what children feel, experience, and the things they have to deal with. Respect their convictions, but let them know that their actions have consequences.
Step 3. Control hoarding
If children continue to fight over toys, it is best to separate them and give them some time to calm down. Don't let them keep taking each other's toys away. Wait for everyone to calm down so you can try to piece together what happened. The idea is not to find who was the "culprit", but to find an acceptable solution to the problem.
To separate the children, just hold their hands firmly and lead them to different areas. Tell them they should stay there and insist until they obey. Make sure everyone is calm before letting them leave their respective corners
Step 4. Remove the disputed item
If you cannot find a suitable solution or if the children involved in the fight are still too upset to argue about the problem, then remove the toy. Remove the toy little by little and gently. Then put it out of reach. Ignore any screaming or crying that occurs as a result.
Step 5. Make the decision together with the children and not in their place
When you step in to resolve disputes, you should give them the reasons for your actions. Allow children to express themselves and listen to them. Try to involve them in the decision-making process.
Step 6. Give value to children's feelings
In general, it is best to approach toy discussions with compassion and understanding. Let children know that their feelings have value. It's okay to tell them “I know sharing your truck makes you sad and upset, and that's okay. It's okay to feel sad and upset, but you have to be a good friend and let Juan have his turn.
Step 7. Manage children's emotions before trying to teach them a lesson
If one (or more) of the children is very upset and sad, you need to take some time to calm them down and give value to their emotions before you try to teach them a lesson about sharing. When children are upset, they cannot focus well on learning. They will only get more upset if you scold them or try to lecture them.
Step 8. Refrain from taking sides
Stay neutral and don't make a big deal out of getting to know which child started the argument. Even if one of the children is clearly wrong, arguing about it won't help much. Concentrate on finding a solution.
Step 9. Resist the urge to grade the children
Even if one particular child is often the one causing the fights over toys, labeling him and calling him "bullying" or "cruel" will not help. You should not tell children that they are "selfish" or "greedy" and you should never insult them. Doing so can affect their self-esteem and self-confidence. Also, if you tell a child that they are a bully, they may start to believe it, which will result in more of the behavior you are trying to stop.
Step 10. Enforce the consequences
Depending on the situation, you can either have the children spend 10-15 minutes in silence (putting each one in their crib will work well for this purpose) or simply remove the toy in question.
Step 11. Praise the children when they obey
When the children are calm and cooperative again, praise them several times. Give them hugs and praise them for learning to calm down and work together.
- Hearing children fight over toys can be really frustrating, but it is imperative that you stay calm. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, drink some water, and face the situation immediately. Other concerns can wait.
- If you find that you have become too frustrated with the children's behavior, see if you have a chance to take a little break. As long as someone else is supervising the children, it's okay to go for a walk, call a friend, or do something that will calm you down so you can regain your composure.
- Understand that each child is a unique individual. There is no set timetable for learning to share. Remember, though, that the more you practice, the better your results are likely to be. Find out if there are playgroups in your area and set several dates for your children to go play.