Tuesday 31 August 2010

My Toy, Your Toy, Our Toy?

Arrgghhh. You know that feeling? If you are a parent reading or even if you look after kids then you are going to have come accross the arrgghhh moments. Many of them for me come about early in the morning when I am quite happily lying in my bed, half awake and half snoozy. I have already received two little pretty butterfly kisses from a couple of stunners and they have trundled off to have a play while Mummy wakes up and then takes them down for their breakfast. Instead of giggles I tend to hear 'arrgghh, Mum, Miss M is trying to get in my room again', 'Get out' (said with very bad attitude), 'You can't come in'. 'Leave that alone, it is mine!'. JJ is stressed again. Why oh why does he think it is fine for all his stuff and his room to remain his property alone but the girls should share everything.

What is it that makes kids intrinsically selfish? What age are they supposed to grow out of it? I know I have read that children start out life with just concern for themselves and that this changes as they grow but it has not changed at all for JJ and in fact more and more he wants his own things but not to miss out on anyone else's things too. This is one small part of the reason that he has been referred for an assessment. He just does not get what is OK and what is not.

My girls are pretty good at sharing, this may be a twin thing. They have always had each other and been together, so from the start they had to learn to share, be patient and wait their turn. Don't get me wrong they are not a breeze to parent, having twins brings a whole new set of issues to get to grips with but the good news for us is that lots of perseverance and encouragement about 'twinnies always sharing' and 'loving each other' has definitely paid off. So things are practically backwards in our house, we have these two 3 year olds who are mostly happy to share and a near 7 year old who does not want to share at all. No hang on, that is not actually true. He does want to share! He fact he wants to share loads of things and they all belong to the girls or to dh and I.

From the start JJ (and the girls) have been taught that it is important to share. JJ is always encouraged to share things with the girls and when he gets stressed about them using whatever it is. I always reinforce that good boys who share get rewarded and do not lose out, ie, if they use all his stickers I will buy more for them all to use.

You may well know by now that we have just had our garage converted into a playroom and this weekend the floor is being laid. This will be all the decoration practically over and then I can move everything back in and I have been pondering about the toys in there. Do we maintain the girls toys and JJ's toys or are they family toys? What is the best plan?

Something has to be done, I am not sure how many more times I can deal with JJ going into meltdown and having a massive crying fit because one of the girls wants to play with a toy that he does not want them to touch.

All the kids have special toys that are their own, teddies, dolls, pushchairs (in the girls case) and JJ has numerous things they have never yet played with as they are too grown up for the girls - magnetix, small piece lego etc. But surely other stuff could just be shared? They all want to play with the kitchen and food, cars, big lego, puzzles, games etc. Does it have to be yours and mine? I would love it all to be referred to as ours.

What happens in your house? Do the children all share toys? or are things kept very separate?
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