I have two DD's, 2.5 and 15 months, over the last couple of weeks fighting over toys has got to fever pitch, everything my youngest has the older wants, what are your best strategies for dealing with this?
Is it best to have defined toys for each child as I have tried this with certain "special toys" but that seems to make it worse! I keep talking about taking turns but as soon as the youngest gets the toy my eldest says it is her turn again and a scuffle breaks out! My entire day is spent refereeing which is to be expected but I can't help but think I am dealing with the situation wrongly. Also any recommendations for books about creating sibling harmony would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
Don't know of a book but this might help. My sibling gap was a bit bigger so I can't be of much help sorry. I always took any toy that they squabbled over away. Don't know if that would help in your situation.
This doesn't work all of the time as there are times when you can't, or just don't want to, but a friend of mine who's been a teacher and childminder advocates getting on the floor with them and talking them through sharing. They don't really know what it is unless you actively show them and keep showing them. So you just talk them through it the whole time you play 'here you go DC1 it's your turn to play with the yellow car. DC2 why don't you play with the Red car while DC1 has his turn. There, that's lovely playing and sharing. Well done DC1 and DC2. Ill have the green one. No don't snatch DC2, it will be your turn with the yellow car soon. Right DC1 can you share the yellow car with DC2 as he let you have your turn so nicely. There you go DC2, can you say thank you to DC1 for sharing so nicely.' Ad infinitum...
I do this with my two (4 and 2) if they're having a particularly bad day and it does work to restore harmony and it models the behaviour you want. If nothing else immediately it does diffuse the situation. And I think it has helped mine understand when I ask them/ remind them to share.
You do get bored of your own voice though...
Even if you're not doing that, try to be more specific - don't just say 'share please!', say something like 'DC1 let DC2 have the blue bricks first and then in a few minutes DC2 will let you have your turn'
We have some toys that are special for each child - for 4yo it's his Lego and for 2yo it's her bricks and beads. The other can use them but only with permission and under close watch and only until the 'owner' starts to get really antsy! Most toys are shared though.
I'm a CM and I never use the word 'share' because it seems to equate in a toddler head with 'give this amazing toy up forever'. But they do understand taking turns, especially if you invest in a sandtimer so they can see when it's going to be their turn.
I use times, so give the younger 5 minutes and then they have to give it over (if they haven't already lost interest). Then you have to make sure the oldest gets it for 5 minutes too. Not then tell the older one "baby doesn't really understand, they're just looking".
A friend's little girl used to climb into her cot and ask for the side up sometimes when her little brother was that age. That way she could play without being hassled by him. It worked for them, and once the brother was old enough to play properly, they got on just fine.