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<p>To preface, I am an only child. I did not grow up around other families with lots of kids, my best friend as a child was also an only. So now that I have two children of my own (and a third due next month), I'm basically completely lost about how to develop their sibling relationship and what kind of limits are appropriate.</p>
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<p>For example, toys. DD was an only child until she was 3.5. Even after DS was born, he was an infant and too young to even care about toys. Now that he's 13mo, he's very into following her around and trying to play with the same things she is playing with. Having had the vast majority of the toys all to herself for most of her 4.5 yrs, she's understandably having a hard time adapting to having a little brother tooling around after her and having to share with him. It seems like I'm constantly reminding her to not leave things she doesn't want DS to get on the floor and to share whatever it is that she's doing with him. In other words, I feel like I'm constantly nagging her and I'm afraid she's going to end up resenting her brother. We do talk about how he's just a baby and doesn't really understand, and that has helped. But I still hear a lot of "DS NOOOOO!" followed by crying after he rips a book that was left on the floor or knocked over a tower of blocks. I feel like I end up explaining away his invovlement and blaming her. "DS is just a baby, sweetie, he didn't know any better. If you don't want him to rip your book, you can't leave it on the floor." I don't feel as though this is the best approach, but I've not been able to come up with anything better. I have no expience to draw on.</p>
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<p>Also, there are some toys she sees as only hers that I'd like to make community toys. Like all the stuffed animals we have. We have probably 40 or 50 stuffed animals and I'd like to make them available to all the kids, in part because I don't want to buy each kid more stuffed animals when we already have so dang many!! How do I make them available to all kids who are interested without upsetting DD? Or should I? Should all the toys she sees as being hers remain hers? It seems to me that part of being a sibling is learning you have to share and that there is give and take among family. Some things remain entirely hers, but now that DS is old enough to play with other things, like stuffed animals, those are everyone's. Am I completely off base here?</p>
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<p>I will say DH does have siblings, but he works 6 days, 50-60hrs a week. I am a stay at home mom and primary care giver. He's not ususally around during these situations. So his expirence isn't really available to be drawn upon. And I'm not big on how he was raised, anyway. The info I get from him kind of reinforces what I'm doing and doesn't really give me much other than making sure there has to be a different way! </p>
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<p>One thing DH does that really bothers me is telling DD whenever she and DS go somewhere without us (over to grandparents for the afternoon) that she's the big sister and it's her job to make sure DS is taken care of. I think that's an awful lot of responsibility to place on a 4 yr old and that its not really appropriate. Yes, she's the older sister and can help out if she wants, but I don't feel like it should but forced upon her like that. When I brought that up, he just said that's what older siblings do and as the oldest himself, he was given that responsibility.</p>
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<p>I do realize that this is an extremely broad topic and that there are varying ranges of normal for every family/individual. Any advice, basic strategies or book recommendations would be extremely helpful! Thank you!!</p>
 

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<p>I understand exactly where you're coming from mama.  Like you I'm an only, and I have 2 kids who are 3 yrs apart.  It took a long time for me to figure out how to work the whole sibling thing (and it's a work in progress!).  How to figure out sharing toys, sharing space, not putting too much responsibility on my older dc, etc.</p>
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<p>When my dc were the age that yours are now I made sure that ALL toys on the main floor (which is where they spent most of their time since ds was too little to be going up and down the stairs by himself) were communal toys.  Dd's more fragile, small-parts, big-kid stuff was kept completely out of reach of ds and I would usually only bring it out for her to play with when he was napping, though occasionally she would want to play with it up in her room by herself.  Some toys of dd's were "special" toys - mostly things that weren't age-appropriate for ds to play with, as well as a few stuffies that she was especially attached too.  Besides that I just repeated and repeated and repeated that in our family most toys are family toys for all the kids to play with.  If we ever had another baby then they would get to play with the toys when they got old enough too.  I knew which ones really were special to her (I'm thinking mostly of those couple of stuffies) and I told her that they would be just for her to play with (and would stay on her bed), but the rest - the stuff on the main floor - was for everyone to play with.  We talked a lot about "taking turns", and "trading" (often at that age ds would happily trade what he was playing with for an equally enticing toy).  We also make sure to have doubles or multiples of toys that are especially popular.  For ex. dd has a collection of My Little Ponies that she found "too special" to let ds play with.  So on Easter the easter bunny left ds his own MLP in his easter basket.</p>
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<p>I have more to say but have to run.  Anyway, I'll be watching this thread for ideas, cause as I mentioned earlier it's a work in progress here too!</p>
 

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<p>my dd's are 4 and 6. ALL toys, games, clothes etc are shared. So far the only thing that dd1 has that is hes alone is her tooth fairy gifts. I realized that this set up is not possible for all families, but it sure makes ours more pleasant. </p>
 

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<p>My boys share most toys--they are ages 3-7, and play together well.  Things like the train set, blocks, whatever is in the toybox, legos, etc.  Those are shared.</p>
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<p>Each one of them has a *few* special items that they are allowed to keep as their own, and do not have to share.  My oldest has the top bunk, so he keeps his "treasure box" up there, as well as any books that are special to him, or that he wants to read before he hands them over to the others. </p>
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<p>If/when we have more little ones, the older ones will responsible to keep "precious" items in a set space, and I will keep the babies out of there.</p>
 
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