Children fight over the silliest things – and toys are among the most common sources of friction. This is especially true when you have a house full of boys!
So how do you end kids fighting over toys without having to police their every interaction? But it’t not as difficult as you may think. You see, children will naturally function best when they feel secure in your love and care.
They need to know that no matter what happens or what they do, you’ll still love them.
So if your kids are fighting over toys because they don’t feel secure in your love and care, then that’s probably why they’re acting like jerks.
Your kids aren’t necessarily being mean; their actions are a result of feeling insecure.
Sharing Is Hard
For children under the age of 7, sharing can be a difficult task to master. Even though children as young as 3 understand what sharing is, and that they should be sharing, when the sharing needs to be put into practice, the concept is lost completely.
Toddlers and preschoolers have shown us over the years, that they can also understand the concept of sharing and splitting things equally, however, most toddlers will want to keep all the toys to themselves when faced with a sharing situation. Toddlers can get triggered into a tantrum easily, here are my best tips on how to deal with toddler tantrums.
Kids are not naturally born “share-ers,” it’s a skill that we must teach them as they grow, just like emotional regulation.
When it comes to children, either in the same family or friends, there is always a chance of conflict.
Conflict can come on pretty suddenly, especially if the kids have been engaged in play for quite some time, but out of nowhere you might hear something like:
“I had that first!“
“No it’s mine!”
And suddenly one child is crying and the other is holding the toy they were fighting over.
So we can understand that it is difficult for kids to share, now we need to understand how to solve the problem. Sharing and playing nicely together go hand in hand, if you are trying to create strong sibling relationships check out this guide here: How To Teach Siblings To Be Best Friends.
Establish and Enforce House Rules
Anyone who’s ever raised a house full of kids knows that starting off with a few simple house rules can go a long way towards curbing children fighting over toys. To start with, you need to make it clear that each child has the right to choose what toy they’re playing with.
It’s not acceptable for one child to take a toy away from another child just because they want to play with it. In fact, it’s very important that your house rules make it clear that it’s not okay to take things away from other people.
You should also have a house rule that states it’s okay for one child to use another child’s toy as long as they ask permission first.
This shows your kids that they need to be considerate of other people and that the wishes of the other children in the house matter.
Try The Bribe Route
Kids fighting over toys can sometimes be a problem because the person who wants the toy doesn’t know how to ask for it politely. It’s important that your kids learn how to ask for what they want without being forceful or aggressive in any way.
If your kids are fighting over a particular toy, you can try the bribe route by giving that toy to the person who asks for it politely.
This way, you’re showing your kids that politeness is the best way to get what they want.
However, you need to make sure that the person who didn’t ask for the toy gets something else they want in return. This ensures that your child still feels loved and that their wants and needs are being met.
Make The Toys That Cause The Most Trouble Disappear
Sometimes kids fighting over toys is a sign that they need something new to play with.
After all, kids love to play with toys and they get bored easily. If they’ve played with a particular toy so many times that they’re sick of it, they may fight over it just to get some excitement going. If you notice that a particular toy is causing your kids to fight, you could try hiding it for a while.
Then bring it out again when the kids aren’t expecting it. This way, you can wean them off their attachment to the toy and teach them that they need to be patient for new toys to become available.
Rotate The Toys You Let Your Kids Play With
You can also prevent kids fighting over toys by rotating the toys you let them play with. For example, you could let your kids play with one new toy for two days and then replace it with a different toy the next two days.
This way, the toys that you let your kids play with won’t have been played with for so long that they’re boring. Plus, your kids won’t get so attached to any particular toy that they fight over it.
Don’t Enable The Fighting Or Find Excuses To Punish
Kids fighting over toys is usually just a phase. However, if the fighting is causing your house to be tense and unhappy and your kids are getting hurt by fighting, then you need to find a way to put a stop to it. Unfortunately, a lot of parents try to put a stop to their kids fighting by punishing them.
They tell the kids that they’re not allowed to play with their toys because they’re being disobedient. Unfortunately, this will only make things worse. By punishing your kids for fighting, all you’re doing is proving to them that you don’t care about them and you don’t love them. This will only make them feel insecure.
Your kids need to feel loved and secure, not punished, in order to function well. Punishing them is only going to make them feel more insecure and lead to more fighting.
Putting An End To Kids Fighting Over Toys Bottom Line
Sharing is a learned skill which toddlers have a tough time grasping due to their brain development. Remember that it’s not common for children to become good at sharing until the age of 7 (source).
Having patience and showing your little one the way on how to share and why it’s important is the best thing you can do to pave the correct path for your child on this subject.
Do you have other questions about children fighting? Check out my ultimate guide on Genius Ways To Minimize Sibling Rivalry At Home.
Finally, keep in mind that infants are still learning to communicate correctly and interact in social circumstances.
It may be difficult for you and your child at times, but those tense moments in which toddlers exhibit an interest in something that someone else is playing with are also instructive. We risk depriving our children of this valuable learning time if we intervene.
As Janet Lansbury, author of “Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting,” pointed out, we may help our children by modelling and setting an example for them. So share if you want your child to share. If you want your child to respect other people’s property, lead by example.
There are several ways to end kids fighting over toys. You can establish and enforce house rules, try the bribe route, make the toys that cause the most trouble disappear, or rotate the toys you let your kids play with. You can also avoid enabling the fighting or finding excuses to punish your kids by not punishing your kids for fighting.
However, the best way to end kids fighting over toys is to make sure that your kids feel secure in your love and care. It’s important that your kids know that no matter what happens or what they do, you’ll still love them.
Free Resource For You
I’ve created a free pdf just for you! If you are struggling with gentle parenting with your kids this PDF will help you find one that will work for your family.
This free pdf can show you:
- The pillars of gentle parenting
- Example conversations you can have with kids
- Example consequences you can use
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