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1 and 2 year old siblings annoying each other. Help me out of the "refereeing" trap. Please!

(7 Posts)
twelveyeargap Thu 13-Aug-09 22:14:35

I have a 2 yr old DD and 1 yr old DS. DD is partly jealous of him and I think partly really frustrated that he's still to young to really play with/ alongside her. He wants to play with her, but it drives her mad (understandably) that his version of "playing" is to bundle in on top of what she's doing.

Every time DS picks up a toy, DD wants it. If I give him something else so she can play with said toy, she dumps it and wants the new thing he has.

She pulls him off our garden toys when I'm not looking, pushes him out of her way, pulls his hair, wallops him etc.

He's going through the screaming/ squealing phase that babies go through just before they start walking/ talking/ feeding themselves properly and are really frustrated. The squealing irritates her almost as much as it does me and she reacts by being vile to him. Doesn't help that he's going through a phase of crying if you as much as look at him the wrong way.

She does understand she's not supposed to do these things. Often says sorry and often kisses and hugs him, although these often turn into 'death hugs' with her arms round his neck.

Help me. Do I just have to ride it out for another year until they're a bit more evenly matched? I've bought some "sibling rivalry" books but they don't help at all with toddlers. They're aimed at children who have gained some reasoning powers.

I spend my days trying to keep them apart or referring the squabbles. They occasionally play nicely beside each other (I would say they're not ready for proper interactive play yet), but there are only brief moments before it all goes tits up.

I think I spent most of today shouting at DD to leave DS alone, or trying to keep him away from her so she could play in peace. She will sit for ages and do things like play-do at the table, but it seems mean leaving her in the kitchen to play alone while I try to keep DS out of her hair.

Help, help, help!

penona Thu 13-Aug-09 22:25:48

I have 2 yr old twins and struggle with the refereeing aspect of the day. DD alot stronger than DS too so she usually wins. Am v interested to hear what people suggest!

blithedance Thu 13-Aug-09 22:28:09

I could have written that post but it would be "4&5 year olds annoying each other". No sign of reasoning powers yet here!

I think you're on the right lines with "divide and conquer", try and get them going on separate activities, duplicate toys or even a DVD to watch. Also very messy play (dry rice/pasta and cups, sandpit, playdough) seemed to fascinate mine such they forgot their rivalry.

Is there some way you can set up a bit of "territory" for DD so she can play in peace but not in a separate room - even using stairgates or furniture to block off the baby's access?(idea from Penelope Leach book).

Honestly, get used to it and be reassured it's absolutely normal and they will still probably love each other even if fighting apparently all the time.

They are both so very young. You just have to police the relationship for them at the moment.

JamInMyWellies Fri 14-Aug-09 08:41:02

TYG in my vast experience hmm. I would say you are going to have to ride it out. Unfortunatley you have had 2 DD's and are now facing the joy wink of boys. Where their main aim in life is to bundle in and be loud and pretty much run roughshod over things.

Lob them in the garden as much as possible. End each evening with a large glass of bombay and some nurofen.

maddysmummy Fri 14-Aug-09 10:03:49

Message withdrawn

twelveyeargap Fri 14-Aug-09 10:27:05

Well, not quite the one-solution-fits-all I was desperately hoping for grin, but it helps to know I'm not alone!

I suppose I need to let it bother me less, shout less etc.

My door is open if anyone does happen to pop in with the perfect answer...

KRo Thu 20-Aug-09 21:07:15

Hi, just seen your post, sorry I don't have any answers but had to write and say I am going thru EXACTLY the same thing with a 2yr old DS and 1yr old DD. I basically spend all day breaking up fights and separating teeth and skin...trying to play with one or the other is hopeless cos the other wants what they are playing with and pretty soon the screaming starts..I am at my wits end..!
I am really hoping this is just another phase that we have to ride out...
you are not alone!

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