WEDNESDAY - PLAYFULNESS
Today is PLAY day.
The kids pulled just about every toy they have out onto the playroom floor to play with today. My 3 yr old loves to line things up, and loves to make towers, so she commanded the blocks. My 1 yr old loves to mess with anything the 3 yr old is playing with, so it becomes an umpire's game - negotiating with each side, trying to get them to meet in the middle.
The biggest challenge we are facing is how do we get these two beautiful girls to play together nicely? How can I help stop sibling rivalry? How do I encourage them to share their toys with each other? Some sisters/brothers just play together so nice and sweet right from the get-go (or so the parents say) and some don't! Mine are in the "don't" pile!
I'm reading a great book (when I can manage to find a spare 5 minutes in the day) called 'Siblings Without Rivalry' by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish (I bought my copy from Half Price Books).
In the younger kids section it talks about this and gives great pointers on what to do to help them develop a good relationship with each other. Encourage good feelings between the kids by talking about them, and what they have done together, positively. Encourage them (especially the older one) to help each other accomplish something (I know my 3yr old loves helping me teach my 1 yr old how to walk). Encourage them to work together as a team - this doesn't encourage rivalry, helps them work together and builds their relationship in a positive way. And concerning the dreaded "It's MINE!" toy snatching scenario - explain that your household has a general policy about property - most things in the house are for sharing (but there are some special things not for sharing and you must ask for permission to use them). I think the best quote in this chapter was "accept the feeling but reject the behaviour". So often I'm too quick to stop the behaviour that I forget to ask why it happened. Communicate with your kids, and listen to what they have to say. I must read more of this book.
It's challenging raising kids in some many ways, but raising kids who get along is one of my core goals. The message just has to be constant and consistent (and fun). I know many examples of where I have diffused a difficult situation with humor (and a goofy face or voice). Whatever works, huh! Have fun!