Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sharing, Trading and Taking Turns

Maddie and Izzie with Bunny and Teddy. They decided to feed them lunch while I was preparing them their lunches.

As with all little kids Sharing, Trading and Taking Turns are three VERY important concepts. I think sometimes as adults we use the word "share" too often with our little kids when we might really mean something else. With parents who have kids of different ages you find yourself telling the older kid to share with the younger child because the younger child doesn't understand the concept of taking turns yet.

With twins I started worrying about sharing from a very young age. Do they share everything? Do they get some things of their very own? When they are fighting over a toy that is both of theirs, who gets it?

Here is what I do. Sharing is reserved for things like colors, puzzles, blocks. When there is a lot of one thing they share it together. If they fight over one thing, like the red color, then we move onto trading or taking turns. So if Izzie wants the red color and she has the blue one, I tell her she can ask Maddie to trade with her. If Maddie says no, then I tell Izzie she has to wait her turn and when Maddie is finished with the red color she can then have it.

You'd be surprised at how much they understand if you explain it calmly and are consistent with it. I'd say half the time they trade and half the time they have to wait for their turn. If they DO continue to fight over the toy, then sometimes a Time Out is involved. Sometime the TO is for the toy (if I don't know who had it first) or for the girl who isn't willing to wait her turn.

The thing is, whatever the toy is, for instance a certain book, it is both of theirs. I don't like it when people tell one child to share the toy with another child who happens to want it just because the first kid had it. I also don't love the timer idea. Some people tell a child they can play with the toy for 5 minutes and then set a timer then they have to SHARE it. I know that I can't enjoy a book if I know I have to give it up in five minutes. I want to use it until I'm done with it, then I will share willingly. If they still want it when I'm done with it (5, 10 or even 20 minutes later) then it's all theirs.

I also try to make some things just Maddie's or just Izzie's. They each have a couple of lovey's and they can share them with their sissy, but if they want them back, then they get them back no matter what. They also each have a magna doodle of a different color. They know which one is theirs. Sometimes I'll see Izzie playing with Maddie's or vice versa. Then the other girl will ask for it. I haven't had to get involved but seriously, they give it to their sister and go find their own! Same with their water and milk sippy cups.

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