Thursday, March 22, 2012

March Madness Parenting Methods

I'm not the stay-at-home-mom I thought I would be. For one thing, I thought I would handle the bickering over toys with diplomacy, tact and patience. Yeah, not so much. Today I hit upon brilliant approach that I credit to all the basketball we've been watching lately.

The girls were fighting over a toy we found in the basement at my parents' house while we were looking for my old records yesterday morning. For those of you 80's kids like me, you may remember this:

Fisher Price Sesame Street toy set

I had to explain to the girls that Mr. Hooper used to run the store instead of Chris, but other than that, most of the elements from the show featured in the toy are the same today as they were 35 years ago.

The girls helped me wash the figurines while I wiped down the apartment building, and then happily played together for awhile. Before long, I heard them arguing. They both wanted the trash truck. (I sort of remember that was the piece my sister and I fought over, too.) They came to me crying and screaming and claiming each had it first.

I sighed. I've tired lots of things when they fight over toys. Take the toys away, put the kids in time out, attempt to discern who really had the toy first to begin with and then set the timer so they can take turns.

But yesterday for some reason, the first thing that popped into my head was this: "Ok, the possession arrow goes to Baby R this time."

I was half kidding, but realized that this approach was pure genius! The next time they came to me about wanting Bert, I ruled in favor of S. It had no bearing on who really had it first. It didn't matter. I didn't have to try to figure it out. I didn't listen to any arguing. All I had to keep track of was who had the possession arrow.

The best part was that there was no post-decision tantrum, because it was over in a second. It was so liberating!

How about you? What's your approach to dealing with fights over toys?
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