Monday, November 12, 2012

New Approach to Taking Turns

CT (E in back), putting on the charm

at the zoo

T, the boys like the lion sculptures more than the actual lions, ha!  
Eli giving the bear cub a besito (kiss)
CET, lunch at the bare skin mole rat exhibit since it was nice and warm in there  
taking turns with the new fire truck
I've been wanting to take our sharing abilities up one notch for quite sometime now. I can't say they've been the best or worst at sharing with each other but of course there is a lot of room for improvement. I needed to come up with a more fair strategy than just saying it's someone else's turn when a fight breaks out over some toy. Too many times a toy just gets taken and put away because one boy wants it and starts a fight. It's not fair to the other boy who was doing nothing wrong.

Other parents of multiples will agree that getting your kids one new toy can be a huge headache (or three different new toys for that matter). The first day involves lots of fights over the highly coveted new toy. And whoever gets to touch it first for some reason thinks he's the rightful owner and gives you the biggest fuss over sharing. Then once the novelty wears off, sharing improves since it's not the hot new toy it once was but still fighting happens ALL THE TIME. And most will agree that it's impractical (or expensive) sometimes to get three of the same exact toy.

I'd heard from someone that using a timer to time turns works for them. I wanted to introduce this for a long time now but was not sure if the boys were old enough yet to 'get it' but I knew that once they got the concept, that sharing would go much smoother around here. Some time past and I kept thinking about it. Finally I decided it was time (the boys are now 2yrs + 1mo), but I needed a tactful way to introduce the new concept. One that wouldn't result in me handing out time outs or causing me undue frustrations. Then the other day when I picked up the boys from nursery school I found a firetruck in the 'free bin' and thought they'd love to have a fire truck. It was also my opportunity to introduce timed sharing to get us over the much dreaded 'hot new toy' phase.

I waited a few days for the 'right time', pre-nap (they are too cranky post nap), not hungry, not tired and all around happy boys. I placed the firetruck up high so they could all see it but not grab it. I pointed out the firetruck to the boys and told them that they would get to play with it but they'd have to take turns. I then showed them my phone and the alarm that would sound when their turn was up. We went in birth order, and in round one Caleb got it first for 2 minutes then Eli and then Thomas. Caleb was a little upset when his turn was up but got over it quickly. Eli graciously waited for his turn and handed the toy off to his brother when his turn was up. Thomas cried the whole time before and after his turn (but this might have been because he got to play with it briefly on the drive home when I initially got the firetruck, he was probably just thinking he was the rightful owner since he touched it first). Round two went much better and I bumped up the time to 5 min each, none of the boys got very upset and at that point I think they 'got it.' After two rounds I asked if they wanted to play with play dough and they all ran to the table and the fire truck was left behind, forgotten for the moment. A little while later Eli got down and brought the firetruck to the table where they all continued to play nice. The rest of the day they kept playing nice with the new toy and would take turns when I asked them too without the need of the timer. I will use it again if any fights break out over any new or old toy. It feels good to have a system : )


nan cee said...

Great job and I love the picture of them climing the stairs! :)
Love you all.
A. Nancy

Jessica said...

New set of trips in Sacramento set a world record of total weight, combined they were 20 pounds! Read this in the paper and thought you might like to see. They are not identical.