Here’s a fun game to play when a young child keeps taking toys off an older child. We played this with my daughter (5) and a friend’s daughter who is 2. The 2 year old kept taking toys off my daughter and my friend and I had to intervene constantly.
I suddenly had an idea. I whispered to my daughter to pretend to play with something, and then we would make a ‘giggle game’ where we would let her take it away, and then chase her and pretend we want it back.
As the two year old grabbed the toy, I exclaimed ”hey! I want that!” in a playfully annoyed tone. My daughter and I chased her, and she loved running away and hiding from us. I repeatedly tried to grab the toy, but always let her keep it. Through smiles and a playful tone to my voice I made sure everyone knew it was a fun playful game, and for the purposes of the game she was ‘allowed’ to take toys. Cue lots of giggles and everyone in a much better mood.
Afterwards I noticed some sweet things; the younger girl gave my daughter dinner from her play kitchen, and started actually giving my daughter toys to play with!
It was so wonderful to see how a few giggles can dissolve the tension behind sharing struggles. And me and my friend even got to enjoy some conversation!
For more info about Giggle parenting check out Giggle Parenting: The Best Discipline Tool Out There! And if you’re interested to know more about how Hand in Hand Parenting helps with sharing struggles read It’s All Mine! Helping Your Child Learn About Sharing.