toy sharing between siblings - time limit or "until she's finished with it" - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: How do you handle toy sharing (general household toys)?
Time limit -- after a certain amount of time it's the other child's turn 5 100.00%
You get it when the other child is finished with it 13 100.00%
Some other method (please explain!) 4 100.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When it comes to sharing toys between siblings, do you let one child keep a toy until they finish playing with it (and put it down)? Or do you set a timer and switch after a certain number of minutes?

We do allow each child to have some special toys that are theirs and don't get shared. But this question is about the general pool of toys that are expected to be shared.

The siblings in our family are 5 1/2 and 1 1/2.
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#2 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 08:55 AM
 
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In my daycare, it's "When she's done".  Or "When you are done with it, can you find Henry and give it to him?".  They are pretty good at remembering who's turn it is.

 

If it's something like a craft that I have left out to do when they want, i'll have them take turns at first, then it's a free for all.

 

Sharing does not mean "Give it to me".

 

But, I do intervene casually when someone is hoarding a toy, or purposely being selfish with it.  I have one boy who will wear a certain pink shiny princess dress all. Day. Long.  He will have a mini meltdown if he gets here and someone else has it on.  So, I have had to step in on behalf of the two girls who would also like to wear it.  

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#3 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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This is hypothetical still because baby #2 is still cooking, but I'm the "wait until they are done" type. It has the added bonus of working well on the playground or literacy centre where you can't control how long other people's children have a toy/swing, etc. it's working great for us so far.
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#4 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:08 AM
 
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I usually say "wait till she's done," but if one seems to be hoarding it because it is desired, I tell them it's been long enough, and to give it up.
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#5 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm the OP -- here was this morning's situation. 5 year old gets out a baby hairbrush. 1 year old desperately wants the hairbrush, is reaching and lunging for it and crying. I tell 1 year old that she can play with it when 5 year old is finished with it, try to distract her. Distraction with other toys doesn't work. 1 year old's crying and lunging continues as 5 year old plays with brush (really, just lies on her bed with the brush handle in her mouth) for 5 minutes, just out of 1 year old's reach. I encourage 5 year old to consider letting 1 year old have a turn at some point but she doesn't want to.

At some point, would you make an intervention? Tell 5 year old she has to leave the room (their shared bedroom) with the desired object if she doesn't want to share? I had things I needed to do in the room and 1 year old generally stays where I am, so we were sort of stuck in place. I felt really torn because 5 year old did have the "right" to keep the brush ... but how long do I have to listen to 1 year old screaming and crying about it?

I guess if I had it to do over, I should have said, "You can keep the brush if you want to, but it's sort of unpleasant for me to be here with [sister] being so loud, so I'll take her downstairs and finish what I was doing here later."
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#6 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:24 AM
 
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If we were living in Laura Ingalls' cabin with a bare handful of toys between them, I would speak differently, but with our heap of toys, we do "when they are done".  There is a great skill to learn to occupy oneself while waiting, and kids tend to focus on what others are playing with, not what's available.


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#7 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:32 AM
 
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See the one year old is tough. I would have taken the one year old to another room to do something fun, which likely would have meant that the older kiddo would get bored with the brush anyways. Also, distraction never worked for my DD at that age if she could still see what she wanted.
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#8 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 12:22 PM
 
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Mmmm, when I thought about this I realised it was quite tricky.  I know consistency is important but different situations call for different reactions and also with different aged siblings.

 

I have 3 year old twin boys and I err on the side of 'you can play with this for 5 minutes and then you need to let your brother have a go'.  At the moment that seems to work most of the time along with distracting techniques I feel because of their age.  Toys which hold their attention for more than 5 minutes (jigsaws, lego, tea sets, books, crayons, paints etc) I make sure I have PLENTY of to go round.   They both have a few favourites which I let them keep hold of and they seem to accept this pretty well.

 

Maybe things will change as they get older...

 

I can see how difficult this would be with a 1.5 and a 5.5 year old.  Such different needs and different levels of understanding to deal with.  At leasat mine are the same age so I'm dealing with the same 'level'.

 

It will be interesting to read other posts!

 

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#9 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 12:23 PM
 
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I set the timer because it stops the whining (for my 9 and 6 year old).  For my one year old, I would set the timer too if I had to but if the whining starts the privilege is lost.  This means I have to deal with MORE crying from the baby...but I figure it's an upfront price to pay for less whining at 3 years old.  I will admit distraction usually works for me ... but I know a trick....Walk through a doorway with the baby...it can be an open door.  (Seriously, there is research that says doorways reset our focus (it's an evolutionary (as in, God-given) response to predators)).

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#10 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 12:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

In my daycare, it's "When she's done".  Or "When you are done with it, can you find Henry and give it to him?".  They are pretty good at remembering who's turn it is.

 

If it's something like a craft that I have left out to do when they want, i'll have them take turns at first, then it's a free for all.

 

Sharing does not mean "Give it to me".

 

But, I do intervene casually when someone is hoarding a toy, or purposely being selfish with it.  I have one boy who will wear a certain pink shiny princess dress all. Day. Long.  He will have a mini meltdown if he gets here and someone else has it on.  So, I have had to step in on behalf of the two girls who would also like to wear it.  

yeahthat.gif

 

This pretty much sums up our household policy.  If I notice intensifying drama over a toy, I help talk them through is, since they are so young.  DS is nearly 5 and DD nearly 2.  I'll usually say, "I see you want that toy that he/she is using.  Let's ask if we can please use it when they are finished.  This helps both kids remember how to communicate peacefully and effectively.  DS will usually tell DD "I know you want to use this, but I'm not finished yet.  You can try in a few minutes when I am done."  I'll sometimes remind him to offer her another toy if there's one near by.  She's pretty easily redirected.  If he wants something, he knows to ask clearly and gently.  Often when discussed in these terms, the one with the toy will relinquish it pretty quickly, offering it to the other.  If either is being demanding or grabbing, that is where the drama starts- not so much about the item as it is about the approach/request.  That's our cue to try asking a gain in a kinder way.

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#11 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 06:14 PM
 
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I only have one child so this is a preschool teachers perspective not a parent one. We do "when you're done can I have a turn " and the only acceptable answers are yes or no someone else asked already. A child is done with the toy if they leave it to do something else (except potty or gathering props for it), if it goes in their mouth, or if it is clear they stopped actively playing with it and switched to seeking a reaction. When it is the last one we point it out and ask the child to reflect on how they would feel if the situation was reversed because taunting for a distressed reaction is a behavior that can be interpreted as bullying as kids get older and emotional awareness is an important prevention tool.

If the item is a shared tool (drinking fountain, serving bowl, sink, etc...) we don't allow hoarding and give a time limit. Kids can return to get more but can't hang on to their turn just so nobody else gets a turn.
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#12 of 24 Old 06-10-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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I've learned a lot from our preschool. Toy conflicts are so often about being heard and in those cases I use a blend. Making sure both parties are heard, that they have their time with the toy, and that the next person can have a turn. So, no strict time limits but more like a fluid one where the first person feels they have control and the next person is having their needs met.

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#13 of 24 Old 06-11-2013, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by indigosky View Post


I guess if I had it to do over, I should have said, "You can keep the brush if you want to, but it's sort of unpleasant for me to be here with [sister] being so loud, so I'll take her downstairs and finish what I was doing here later."

I'm in the same boat as you (4 and 1 YO's) and I love this idea.  I am trying this exact phrase tomorrow when my kids are inevitably fighting over something. 

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#14 of 24 Old 06-12-2013, 11:19 AM
 
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I do "when he's done" or some variation and DH sets a time, even sometimes using the kitchen timer. I think that "when he's done" is almost always more peaceful and encourages my kids to learn how to figure things out on their own, and to move on naturally in their play. The timer method tends to place more attention than necessary on the object of interest and leads to hoarding and taunting. However, on the rare occasions when "when he's done" backfires (if one DS is tired and can't be patient or doesn't trust the other to ever be done, for example) it is really spectacular and leads to huge meltdowns, whereas the other method doesn't. 


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#15 of 24 Old 06-13-2013, 02:31 PM
 
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We don't have shared toys, and that makes things so much easier. They are either dd's toys, or ds's toys, so they decide if they want to share or not. They actually want to share because they want the other sibling's toys in return, so usually they work it out among them. For example, if ds wants dd's toys, he knows he should ask nicely and share his, because otherwise his sister might choose not to share hers.

 

With an 1 y/o, I found it was easier, in a way; I could have ds sit at the table if he wanted to play with his Legos, so his baby sister couldn't grab them. Or I would ask him to go to his room if he wanted to play in peace.
 


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#16 of 24 Old 06-13-2013, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have shared toys, and that makes things so much easier. They are either dd's toys, or ds's toys, so they decide if they want to share or not.

Wow, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around how you do this. It sounds like you have a big age gap like we do (4 years in our case). So the older child got used to all toys being theirs. What do you do about things like wooden blocks, kids' musical instruments (tambourines, shakers, etc), puppets, little people/animals? In our house they seem like they are solidly in the "used to be DD1's but now need to be shared with DD2" category. No need to get the second child her own when we already have nice collections of these. But I'm curious to understand how you deal with this -- it seems like at least 60-70% of what's in our house is in this category I'd consider now shared, although once they were only DD1's.
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#17 of 24 Old 06-14-2013, 05:04 PM
 
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Wow, I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around how you do this. It sounds like you have a big age gap like we do (4 years in our case). So the older child got used to all toys being theirs. What do you do about things like wooden blocks, kids' musical instruments (tambourines, shakers, etc), puppets, little people/animals? In our house they seem like they are solidly in the "used to be DD1's but now need to be shared with DD2" category. No need to get the second child her own when we already have nice collections of these. But I'm curious to understand how you deal with this -- it seems like at least 60-70% of what's in our house is in this category I'd consider now shared, although once they were only DD1's.


Yes, my ds is 8 and my dd is almost 4. It gets easier as they get older too. We don't pass ds's toys over to dd; what's his, is his, so he decides whether to share or not.

 

Sharing issues are very rare here, so I'm trying to think of a concrete example. With big items, such as ds's train table or dd's play kitchen there was never an issue, as both of them can play. With dollar store items, we just buy more of them (such as balloons).

But if ds gets a toy as a prize for doing well at his music lessons (for example) and doesn't want to share immediately after he got the toy, I might say to dd: "This toy belongs to your brother. Maybe he'll share it later." Sometimes dd gets over it pretty quickly; if I see she's really upset, I tell her: "Let's go ask your brother nicely", and she asks him herself, with me next to her. If ds still doesn't want to share, which doesn't happen often, I might tell him: "See, your sister is pretty upset, do you think you can share your toy with her and make her feel better?"

 

These days they can work it out among them, usually. I sometimes overhear their negociations: "Sis, can I have your toy? I'll give you this one instead."

 

In the example you gave, I think your dd1 was purposely teasing your dd2, and that's not nice. (It happened here too when my kids were smaller.) True, it was her brush but she needs to learn how to be compassionate and kind to her sister. I would tell her: "It is your brush and you can choose to share it or not, but it's not nice not to share and let your sister cry. See how sad she is? Can you make her feel better?" If she still refused to share, I would ask her to go play with the brush in another room.


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#18 of 24 Old 06-17-2013, 07:39 PM
 
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 I feel in the situation you described that the older child was only keeping it to keep it from the younger one.  I would have told the 5.5 year that she had to share maybe giving her one more minute with it.  I tell my 3 year old that she needs to share now with her 1.5 year old brother.  I think ones kids have more verbal skills and you can explain that they will get a turn when their sibling is done then kids can wait till the other one is done.  1.5 is still very young for waiting.

 

90% of our toys are shared.  The 10% of toys that are hers she doesn't need to share ever mainly because he would break them.

 

We have some older kids who visit often and there is a time limit with sharing electrons - if we said to wait until they were done they would never be done.

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#19 of 24 Old 06-17-2013, 08:02 PM
 
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Sounds like the older child was just keeping the toy to keep it away from the baby.


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#20 of 24 Old 06-17-2013, 10:53 PM
 
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I voted "other" since we use a mix of both.  I'll use the timer if the drama is intense.  Often when I do set a timer the kids work it out before it beeps, so I consider that a win.  The timer really helps them to calm down and know that they will eventually get a turn.


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#21 of 24 Old 06-17-2013, 11:11 PM
 
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In the situation you gave us, if the 5yo wasn't actively playing with the toy (brushing doll's hair, using it as a microphone, whatever) I would make her give it to the 1yo.


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#22 of 24 Old 06-18-2013, 11:36 AM
 
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I voted "other" since we use a mix of both.  I'll use the timer if the drama is intense.  Often when I do set a timer the kids work it out before it beeps, so I consider that a win.  The timer really helps them to calm down and know that they will eventually get a turn.

This is what we do too. All their toys are shared. They're young yet though. (1.5 and 3.5) I'm sure it will be different when they're older.
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#23 of 24 Old 07-15-2013, 05:00 AM
 
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Like one of the PPs we now have very few shared toys.

 

When DS was born DD already had collections of various toys which were by default hers, most of these were kept downstairs not in her room (we used to rotate boxes). What worked for us was as DS got old enough to play with them we bought him things to add to the set, often it didn't have to be much, a few more duplo blocks or some extra play food. It really seemed to help DD feel that they both had added to the set and they should both be able to play with it. They still seem to remember who got which bits for birthdays and so on.

 

As they have got older more toys are kept in their rooms and are their own. There are relatively few issues with these, in part they don't have that many which the other is interested in but they are OK at negotiating when they do what to play with something in the other persons room.

 

Our shared toys tend to be things which I've bought for "the family" such as the electronics set. These are a "let the other person know when you are done" kind of system.

 

When turns can take a long time I'll bring out the timer. We have one which has lights to show how long there is left, that's really helped with the wii as they have leant not to start a new level if the amber light is on (or at least know they may not get to finish it and save). It's also helped when we've got something new, we recently bought a trampoline and for now I'll set the timer as they are both wanting to play, in time I expect I won't need to as interest will dwindle (hopefully not too much, it take up a lot of garden)

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#24 of 24 Old 07-16-2013, 09:10 PM
 
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In my family (kids are 18, 13, 9, 6 and 2), it's "when you're done with it, can you give so-and-so it", or "ask so-and-so if you can have it when he's done" (with no not being an answer).  If one child is using it for a very long time, they well be told that they're taking a very long turn, so finish up, in one minute, so-and-so gets it.  They can also have their turn cut short if they aren't playing with it, but teasing with it instead, or if they go do something else (bathroom's okay) and then come back expecting to still have a turn.  The 18 year old pretty much does his own things- he's too cool to hang out with the kids, lol, and the only one who really has a problem with the rules (especially the don't walk away from it if you're not done rule), is the 6 year old.

 

On certain days of the week, I watch my sister's 2 year old twins and my own 2 year old, sometimes my sister's 5 and 12 year olds, too.  In my sister's house, they're asked, "can so-and-so have it in two, or three minutes".  The 12 year old likes to tease with it (using the scooter for a footrest when the 5 year old is waiting for a turn), so that's why my sister's adapted the "how many minutes" rule in her house.  When I have my kids and my sister's kids, both house's rules get a little blended into the other house's rules, but for the most part, they've adapted pretty well.


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