Sharing: 14 Ways to Get Your Child to Play Fair

1. Look for solutions, not faults. If kids are fighting over a toy and they can't find a solution, hold both children responsible for the conflict and encourage them to work it out between themselves. The trick is to give the kids the tools they need to resolve these conflicts, then stay out of things as much as possible. One tool that works well is to say, "Okay, we've got a problem. Both of you want to play with the same toy, and that's not possible. How can we solve this problem?" Then stand back and let your kids work it out. Another strategy is to give your children a few options and let them choose.

2. Be realistic. By the very nature of how a child develops a sense of himself and the world around him, selfishness precedes generosity. When you recognize that this is a normal part of infant development, responding calmly and compassionately to squabbles will become easier.

3. Apologize on your toddler's behalf. If your toddler grabs a toy from another child, there's nothing wrong with apologizing on your child's behalf. In this way, you show the other child respect without harboring unrealistic expectations of your little one.

4. Observe without intervention. When your children are fighting over a toy, resist the urge to jump into the ring along with them (unless, of course, things are getting physical). This behavior leads to win-lose outcomes, which often means someone's going to get hurt. In addition, your children will learn to depend on you to solve their problems.

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