How to get my 4.5 & 1.5 year-old dd to play together w/o fighting? Pls share your idea & experiences - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 01-31-2012, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 dds are exactly 3 yrs apart. DD1 comes home from pre-school around 3.30pm and i find it a challenge to keep the 2 of them busy w/o fighting with each other. DD1 is not good at sharing since young & she's very mean to her little sister sometimes. She's very protective of her toys & don't like DD2 to touch them. But DD2 is very curious & like to follow whatever dd1 is playing. DD1 gets very mad & yells or even hit dd2 sometimes when she messed up her toys. Because of their age difference it's also hard to do things together. Anyone has similar experience pls share your solutions on how to make them play together or even parallel play in the same room. Thanks.

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#2 of 10 Old 02-02-2012, 05:16 AM
 
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My kids are the same ages (DD 19 months, and DS 4.5 years). We just moved but before, my son had his own room, where his sister was not allowed, and he was very mean to her whenever she tried to go in and touch his stuff. He had no problem playing with her stuff though. Now that we moved to a smaller apartment, I put all their toys together. I did remove all the really small pieces obviously, my DD still puts toys in her mouth, but I put all their toys together. It's like a crash course in sharing for my son. Now that all the toys are together and not in his room, he kind of is getting over his possessiveness. He still gets upset if he is playing with a particular toy and his sister tries to grab it, but I teach him to always get a toy for his sister to play with as well, and I stress to him, that he is the big boy in the family, he gets to do big boy stuff, and his sister is still the baby, he has to treat her differently. As to fighting, I don't think there is anything that would make that completely stop, at least in my house, my son does pick on his sister, is mean to her, for example, when she walks by, he tries to trip her or push her!!!! I get so upset. I constantly discipline him for that. If I see him do anything like that, over and over again I make him stop whatever fun activity he is doing and go into sort of time out, and then if he wants to come back, he has to hug and kiss his sister and apologize, specifically telling her what he is apologizing for. It's a contant battle in our house, him picking on his little sister. I mean, he does not do any of this to his friends or classmates in preschool, or kids at the playground. He would never push or trip anybody, but at home, he does this all the time. So we have a lot of talks, disciplining, time outs and taking away fun things everytime he misbehaves. Sometimes I have to separate them into different rooms and give him a busy activity (playdoh, coloring) when their fighting gets to be too much. But I noticed that usually my son picks on his sister when he is bored, even at 4.5 I feel like he gets bored so easily. He has a lot of toys but does not play with them. I constantly have to direct his activities, otherwise he is bored and pics on his sister.


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#3 of 10 Old 02-03-2012, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks tropicmama for your reply. I see a lot of similarities between my dd1 & your ds. She gets bored easily too & that's when she tends to misbehave. I have to engage her in activities all the time. She doesn't really like to play with her toys unless i play with her. The problem is dd2 will come join our games & at this age she can only grab things & throw them which makes dd1 mad. Like your ds she's also mean only to her sister but usually nice to all her friends. Hope things get better as they grow.

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#4 of 10 Old 02-09-2012, 10:56 AM
 
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I love this thread!  My kids are 2 and 4, 19 months apart which might be a little easier but they fight all the time.  I think the key is to understand that they don't have to play together to like each other.  It's okay if they play seperate.  About th eonly thing they really do well with each other is if I make forts and they set up houses and the oldest gets to be incharge.  They also really love to play with stickers, glue ribbons and any type of crafts.  I think you may have it rougher than I do becaue mine are closer in age.

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#5 of 10 Old 02-09-2012, 11:12 AM
 
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My daughters are almost 4 years apart, almost 2 and almost 6. It has been rough here with their interaction together. Older dd will not let younger dd in her room. We only have a 2 bedroom, so it's really hard to explain to younger dd that she can't go in there. Really she wants to go in there and sit on her bed and check out her "stuff". I told dd she should just let her in there and not make a big deal about it, we have such limited space. And then younger dd wouldn't find it as intriguing, the off limits area.

Younger dd had been (getting less and less though) grabbing hair and hitting older dd. This was usually when a toy was involved. Older dd would just sit there and let her do it, when easily she could stand up and be out of reach. She would just sit there and cry and fuss until I intervened. 

They do have moments recently when things have been good and they play very well and I do praise them LOTS when this happens. 

I also notice that if the kids are hungry or tired it is way worse. So I try to nip it in the but with a snack or a story. 

 

You are so not alone.


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#6 of 10 Old 02-09-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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My kids are 1 (12 mo) and 3.5 and they play together pretty well. Part of it, IMO, is that I call all of the toys "their toys". DS has only two toys that DD is not allowed to touch, that he can play with in his room with the door closed (if he leaves it open, that's free range for DD). DD obviously isn't old enough to even care whose toys are whose, so this doesn't bother her at all. I call DD's room "the play room". Everything about it is for both of them to play. Also, when we get doubles - I don't return them! LOL. DD got this little tea kettle&tea cup set for Christmas, and then again for her birthday, and I was thrilled because they both love them... no fighting. Also I find some fighting to be avoided when I warn DS ahead of time what DD's capabilites are with any given activity ... if they're playing blocks, and DS doesn't want his tower knocked down, he's going to have to build it at the table. DD isn't old enough to understand his tower and hers. When they're playing cars, I let DS know DD likes to go "vroomm" but doesn't know how to make a "car show" like he does, etc. 

 

I keep activities as age-wide as possible for most of the day, and save age-separate activities for grumpy hour. Forts, tents, "house", kitchen play, dolls, wooden blocks and trains, tiny basketball hoop, road rug w/ cars & trucks.. are the type of thing they do really well together.

 

However - I always seperate them before dinner. 4:30-5:30 is by far my kids' hungriest, tiredest, whiniest time of the day, and I just don't even go there. DS either paints, plays with clay, colors, or his train set - something up at the table... and DD plays either blocks, or dolls, or buckets on the floor, they just can't play together during grumpy hour, it always ends in tears!


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#7 of 10 Old 02-10-2012, 08:47 AM
 
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FWIW, my kids tend to fight over the things that we have that are duplicates.  It's kind of crazy.  We have one doctor kit, so they share and take turns.  We have stuff grandma has bought that is double so they each have one and they bicker over whose is whose and you're touching mine, etc. etc. 

 

If my child doesn't want to share I often make them, pointing out that the other child will not break the toy (I don't make my child share a toy that might be in danger). 

 

Mine are 2 yrs apart and get along fairly well, but the late toddler stage you are dealing with in the younger one is a hard stage.  Give your older DD space to herself and rescue her from the younger DD sometimes.  And point out to older DD that younger DD only plays with things for a little while, so let her and then you can have it.

 

HTH

 

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#8 of 10 Old 02-10-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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They're both so young, but I recommend lots of specific praise for DD1 when she does the right thing. Taking pictures of this can be a wonderful reinforcement. Let DD1 "overhear" you tell someone else how proud you were when she did...(fill in the blank) with/for her little sister.

Also ask DD1 how you should include the toddler in your play. You can be very sympathetic toward DD1 when the little sister messes up her stuff, but the sympathy tilts away when she is unkind. In some ways, you are forging a partnership in how to amuse a much younger child. And modeling the interactions as it's not automatic.

For most little children, there is a pretty short limit on how long they will play with a much younger child, although you can try to stretch the limit a bit by suggesting new activities. "Thingless" play -- eg a kitchen music dance party -- is a good way to level the playing field.

We have a gap and the ability to sustain playtime did get better as they got older. And for games that my DD just couldn't play along, we'd put her on a "team" or made her the dice roller so she wasn't excluded.

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#9 of 10 Old 02-11-2012, 08:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anjsmama View Post

My kids are 1 (12 mo) and 3.5 and they play together pretty well. Part of it, IMO, is that I call all of the toys "their toys". DS has only two toys that DD is not allowed to touch, that he can play with in his room with the door closed (if he leaves it open, that's free range for DD). DD obviously isn't old enough to even care whose toys are whose, so this doesn't bother her at all. I call DD's room "the play room". Everything about it is for both of them to play. Also, when we get doubles - I don't return them! LOL. DD got this little tea kettle&tea cup set for Christmas, and then again for her birthday, and I was thrilled because they both love them... no fighting. Also I find some fighting to be avoided when I warn DS ahead of time what DD's capabilites are with any given activity ... if they're playing blocks, and DS doesn't want his tower knocked down, he's going to have to build it at the table. DD isn't old enough to understand his tower and hers. When they're playing cars, I let DS know DD likes to go "vroomm" but doesn't know how to make a "car show" like he does, etc. 

 

I keep activities as age-wide as possible for most of the day, and save age-separate activities for grumpy hour. Forts, tents, "house", kitchen play, dolls, wooden blocks and trains, tiny basketball hoop, road rug w/ cars & trucks.. are the type of thing they do really well together.

 

However - I always seperate them before dinner. 4:30-5:30 is by far my kids' hungriest, tiredest, whiniest time of the day, and I just don't even go there. DS either paints, plays with clay, colors, or his train set - something up at the table... and DD plays either blocks, or dolls, or buckets on the floor, they just can't play together during grumpy hour, it always ends in tears!


My DD's are exactly 3 years apart.  They will be 2 and 5 in May.  We do a lot of the things anjsmama mentioned.  My DD's get a long really well (we have other challenges but this is the one area that has been easy for us.)    

 

They each only have a couple toys that are specifically for one of the other (the each have one baby doll that is their own and a stuffed animal).  The rest of the toys are both of theirs.  Even before DD2 was born I started reminded DD1 that the toys were for both of them.  I actually encourage family members to buy one present for both of them to share.  Sometimes DD1 does need some big girl time and if she starts getting annoyed with DD2 I try to get DD1 to come up with a solution, that doesn't involve yelling and throwing a fit.  Usually she will request "alone time" and will go up to their room to play alone.

 

I have always given DD1 a ton of feedback on being a good big sister.  I narrate the good behaviour I see. "Wow, look at you and Maisie playing so nicely.  What nice sisters you are".  We also do a lot of group hugs, games that they can both play (ie. Sleeping Bunnies, or sining songs like If You are Happy and You Know it).

 

I try to teach DD1 how to deal with DD2.  For example if DD2 snatched a baby from DD1, and DD1 gets upset sometimes I will say "wow.. it looks like Maisie really wants to play with that doll..." and then DD1 will go find another.  Or if I can tell DD1 really wants that doll I remind her about trading, and DD1 will go find another baby to trade with DD2 (to get the original back).  

 

I also give DD1 reminders about how DD2 might play.  ie. knocking blocks down etc.

 

I think what has helped us a lot if me reinforcing the good behaviour and listening to DD1 vent about DD2 when she needs to.  We often say things like "Best Sisters!!!" and they give each other a big hug.  Also "Maisie just loves you SOOO much, you are such a great big sister".  I let DD1 help all the time with DD2 and in fact she really is a big helper!  She enjoys the responsibility of taking DD2 to the potty or helping get her dressed etc. 

 

I do think there is only so much you can do.  My sister (who is two years younger than me) and I played all the time when we were kids but we fought SOOO much.  Our 2 younger sisters rarely fought, but also rarely played together and they are only a year apart.  

 


Me: Shannon (33) mom to DD Everly born May 9, 2007 and Maisie born May 26
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#10 of 10 Old 02-19-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for the advice and suggestions I will try some of them. I'm glad that despite all the fights they really love each other and always have so much fun together.

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