Kids fighting over toys? Try this!
(This post might contain affiliate links, which means if you happen to buy a product I love then I may get a commission - at no extra cost to you! For all the Ts and Cs go here.)
Do you find that the act of sharing is causing some total drama in your house among your kids? One minute they’re playing quietly and the next you’re a confused referee as they argue over who “had” the toy. Sometimes this probably ends in the toy going away for awhile, especially because it’s so hard for you to determine who really “had it.”
This week I heard an amazing tip that I think is going to bring some peace into your home.
Or mats for your toys rather.
The idea is that each child would have their own mat and at the beginning of the day (or playtime or whenever) would get a chance to choose some toys they will be playing with and place them on their own mat. If a toy is on that mat it means it’s there’s, if the toy isn’t on that mat then it’s in the general area and is free for anyone to use.
So simple right? Well, it definitely works and let me tell you why.
As children play they can often put something down even though they’re not done with it. They can intend to go back and use it, even after a long time has passed, but they have no way to represent to anyone else that that toy is still in the back of their mind. Even if a toy hasn’t been touched for awhile it can still be part of their process so if someone else comes and takes that toy away it can quite likely create chaos.
Using mats for the toys can help children represent that they’re using something. Just like at work the things on your desk are for you to use, even if you’re not using them that exact moment. A co-worker shouldn’t just come and take something. The mats create this same kind of boundary that your children need in order to put “claim” on something and to understand that their sibling is still using something.
So go visit your local fabric store or maybe you have something at home you can use. Mats are great because the child can sit on the mat and play with the toys there (rather than a bin which the child would end up taking the toys out of and then it’s hard to tell if the toy is in the “general area” or not).
So that’s one great way to minimize fights over sharing toys! What’s one great strategy that you use at home to reduce the chaos? Hit reply and let me know!
Have a great day mamas,
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The Moving Mama
Lizzy Mash is an experienced early childhood educator now living in Africa as a missionary working with children and families.
She teaches Christian moms how to take a more respectful and Christ-like approach to motherhood by using Gentle Parenting strategies.
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