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Do you think it's possible Lock Rss

Or do you think it's a healthy way of problem solving to fight with each other?

A friend and I swap our kids around with each other so that both of us can work. It has worked really well in the past, and still works well in terms of us being able to work. Lately the girls have become like sisters. My friend has 2 girls aged 6 and 4, and I have mine, aged 4 also. Usually the 6 yr old is at school but being school holidays I'm having all 3 of them, and man can they FIGHT! Yesterday my friend had an awful day with them... all they did is argue all day, and at the end of the day my friends 4 yr old pushed my dd off the monkey bars when she was upside down, therefore landing on her head, and she hurt her back. So it's off to the chiro...

Today I've decided to introduce 'quiet time'. When it starts to get the build up to the arguments (they get louder and rougher and start to speak to each other rudely) they all have to go and sit quietly and read a book on their own (not sitting together). I've explained that it's not a bad thng, it's just to get them to sit for a while until they feel calm.

I seem to be interupting their play a bit more frequently than I'd like... and wondering if it's even possible to teach them to play nicely. The 6 yr old started the morning off by shutting my dd in a cupboad, and when dd started protesting the 6 year old sang out in the sweetest voice "You're ok darling, you just stay there for a while". (obviously trying the 'speak nicely' approach that I talked to them about this morning! lol)

Is is possible? Do you do something to help your kids play nicely and speak nicely to each other? Or is it detrimental to intervene with their play???

tell me what you think...

i think kids need an opportunity to sort their issues out between themselves (age appropriately of course - cant expect two 2 year olds to sort out a dispute over a toy for example!) but when it becomes physical or aggressive, i always step in.

I like to sit back and see how my DD handles herself in situations but at 3 i find she is mostly still turning to me for advice or guidance. If a child takes something from her she used to cry, run to me and i'd sort it out. But since starting day care and being a little older, she now sticks up for herself somewhat and will say "that was my toy dont snatch it!" or something like that.

So i think it needs to be a healthy medium.

Its not realistic to expect kids to want to play with each other all the time or enjoy each others company for hours on end. i know i get annoyed if im forced to socialise with someone when im not in the mood. I fight with DH if we have spent a lot of time together and we are tired etc.
So i think its healthy for them to argue and have problems with each other - but physical or verbal "abuse" is not on. Any hurting or name calling etc and i always intervene.
I think kids need to sort out their own issuse sometimes, but its should be monitored.
I think they sound bored, why dont you set them some challanges so they have to work together. But also set them some games that they have to do on their own, eg puzzles, drawing.

its also tricky when two of them are siblings because the claws tend to come out much more easily when siblings are involved!
not sure what they usually play like together but sometimes if they are allowed to fight like cats and dogs at home, it will intensify when there is a third child there to fight with/over.

good luck!
My friend and I have very similar parenting styles... and I know that she wouldn't allow them to openly fight at home. Generally they are all really nice little girls but lately it's just a bit crazy!

I did notice that when ALL the toys come out and get spread around that the house looks chaotic, and the behaviour also becomes chaotic. At that stage it seems that they've 'run out' of toys because they're not in order and can't work out how to get it back together. So I've also decided that they need to pack up one set of toys before starting on another.

btw I'm up for a discussion on parenting theories and interested in hearing what others do with their kids if anyone is up for sharing. smile

I did notice that my dd was trying to initiate an argument with the 6 yr old because dd wanted to play snap, and the 6 yr old didn't. Was pleased to see that instead of arguing the 6 yr old distracted dd by saying 'have a look at this where's wally book, can you find wally?' and dd had forgotten about snap.

BUT.. I don't suppose you can expect 4 yr olds to learn the logic of a 6 yr old either.

Mate you've got 3 girls playing together, there are bound to be arguments and some type of ganging up going on (experience talking here,lol). Once you get more then 2 kids playing they tend to fight more.

I think the quiet time is a good idea. I also think it is important to intervene at times when the fighting gets out of hand or the child cannot help themselves or sort the problem out (like with your DD being shut in a cupboard) in those case you need to intervene on the child's behalf and make it crystal clear (I put on my teacher voice) and explain that that sort of behaviour is just NOT on, you do not treat people that way, no matter what sort of sweet voice you put on while doing it.

I do try to let my children sort out their play problems for the majority of the time but keep an ear and eye on how they are doing and anything that results in injury or a child feeling scared, intimidated or picked on is something I step in on immediately.

Things like arguments over sharing or little tiffs, I only intervene when or if it escalates to violence,lol, which it sometimes does here. I will then negotiate and guide the children to a resolution, hopefully teaching them something for next time.

My older DD's often don't want to play what the younger kids desperately want them too, cards, dolls etc. I explain to both older and younger kids that sometimes people don't want to play what we do, at the exact time that we want to play and sometimes people just need some time to themselves or want to play alone. I distract or divert to another activity, or I have a turn playing the game with the younger ones, OR I ask the older ones to be big helpers and help me out with the younger kids by playing the game- giving them that sense of responsibility often helps encourage them to play much more nicely with the younger children (who let's face can sometimes be annoying to bigger kids).

I think the "quiet time" is a good approach too smile I'm not a hovering parent that intervenes at every little hiccup. I think it is important that they be given an opportunity to sort our problems on their own to an extent, however when it gets to the point of them all shouting or screaming at each other or someone is at risk of being hurt then it's time to step in. I think when it escalates like that small people just don't have the capacity to calm down and take control of the situation and thats exactly when quiet time is useful smile
We have experienced the same problem in our family for years. My daughter and my niece are very close. They are now 13 and 14 (almost 15) and thankfully they are getting a little better with age.

They are great together when it is just the two of them. Add a third person to the mix (male or female) and its on for young and old. Its all about the third person. One will always feel left out and it leads to tension and arguments.

Julia (14yrs), Cooper (6yrs) & Amarlia (14 months)

thanks girls... so far it's actually working really well. I've taken on board what you've all said about intervening and have only stepped in when I see it escalating. So far they're having blocks of play for up to an hour without me having to interupt at all. We've had such a calm morning! (fingers crossed it continues like this!!!)

The 6yr old has actually been removing herself from the play when it's getting loud and playing quietly on her own without me saying a word. smile

I've also gone back to childcare days and decided to structure our morning a bit better - regular breaks from play with snack time and a drink, and a bit of prompting to speak nicely when I hear one speak out of line. And I've promised that if they keep playing this nicely that we'll do some baking later. In between they've had free play and have packed up between toys and everything is going beautifully.

*sigh* It just takes a bit more effort on the parenting side... if only I had this type of patience every day. lol

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