Tuesday, June 22, 2010
She's been out of school for a month now. I'm not going to lie — that first week she was home, none of us handled the transition well. We all yelled. A lot. My two oldest had gotten used to spending a large part of the day apart so when I tried to recombine the elements, there was quite a bit of clashing. The school year was enough to make them forget how to be around each other, even though they spent the previous three years joined at the hip.
It didn't take long for my daughter to pick up the annoying habit of loud fake crying each time her little brother wouldn't play to her liking. She asked every day how many days until school started again, longing for her friends and space.
I let them work a lot of it out between themselves and over the past month they've hammered out a cease fire, for the most part.
But sharing is still a problem.
How should I solve the sharing issue? Should I make them share, regardless of ownership or who had it first? Should I teach them that if a child is already playing with a toy, that child gets to play with it until he's done? What happens when my son starts playing with a toy that technically belongs to my daughter? What happens if it's a toy that she hasn't played with for months — who has the right to hold it?
Here's what I've been contemplating, sort of a sharing bill of rights:
1 - You have the right to keep special toys for yourself. If it's an object that you don't want your siblings to play with, keep it in your room because it will make them feel bad if you play with it in front of them. If something is outside of your room, it's fair game (unless it's an outside toy.)
2 - You don't have to share something that you had first, but it's really nice to share and highly encouraged. Mom or Dad gets to decide who had it first, if there's a dispute about that. If you want something that your sibling has, you can play with it when he or she is finished.
3 - No yelling at each other. If there is a problem, talk nicely, or come tell mom or dad. I'm trying to not yell, too. My actions rub off on them.
4 - There is no ownership of certain chairs or spots on the couch. Whoever got there first gets to sit there. If you get up to go do something else, you lose your spot. (It's surprising how often this is an issue at our house!)
5 - (This last one is for mom and dad) - A hungry and/or overtired and/or overstimulated child WILL have sharing issues, which can be solved with food/calm/bedtime.
They're doing much better, a month into summer. So am I. Now they are back to being partners in crime instead of mortal enemies.
(My favorite part about this photo is that they both have that ubiquitous childhood tattoo — the smudge of frosting on the forearm. I think that "childhood" ends when that mark no longer appears.)
There's still a lot to be desired as far as sharing goes, but don't worry; we'll have it all figured out, just in time for my daughter to go back to school in August.