Siblings and sharing

I have two children ages three and one. My question is how do I get my three year old to share toys with his little sister? I have tried calmly talking to him, yelling, time-out, taking the toy away and nothing has seemed to work! I am getting very frustrated and I feel like it is having an adverse effect on my daughter.


It is usually difficult for a child to share his toys with a younger sibling. After all, in his opinion, it doesn't make sense, he had them first!

Naturally, you would like to have your daughter play with the same toys. No one wants to go out and buy a duplicate set. When your daughter is about three, your son will probably enjoy having a competent playmate who also adores him.

For the time being, however, you can develop a strategy. Before your children engage in play time (in the early morning, when they've just begun, for example) ask your son which toys your daughter can play with today. Have him physically pick some out and hand them to you. They will be her toys for the day. He has to stick by his choices, even if he changes his mind. If your son finds it difficult to give up a toy for a whole day, you can have him choose toys for the morning and again in the afternoon. It's just important for him to know in advance which toys his sister will use and he also needs to participate in the decision.

Since your daughter is only one year old, this will be hard for her to understand. So you might try to put the chosen toys near her and distract her when she gets too interested in something else. It won't be long before she can do some negotiating for herself. Also, it would be good for her to have a few things of her own, to use as she wishes. She can also use household items such as measuring cups or plastic bowls, which one year-olds love to explore!

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