How it all began…
The answer to the “ME FIRST” question arrived in the mail, gift-wrapped: it was a brand new LEGO holiday advent calendar. Every day, the children were leaping out of bed, excited to see what was behind the next door. We needed a system to make sure each child opened the right door, so we assigned one child to “odd” days and one to “even” days.
The turn-taking solution that helped my kids stop fighting about ME FIRST
So, that’s how it started. Each child had a day to open the advent calendar, and then it hit me: how about a “GO FIRST” day for each sibling? I suggested this solution to the kids, and they agreed to try it. On the even days, one child could claim FIRST on anything at all. On the odd days, the other child wielded that privilege.
For the rest of the month, every squabble was quickly solved by one question: WHOSE DAY IS IT?
There was one hiccup right at the end of the month; can you guess what it was? Yep, on December 31st, we came to the dreadful realization that we would be facing two “GO FIRST” days in a row for the same child. The kids decided that it would be fair to switch between the odds and evens in that case, so we went on using that solution.
Then, the strangest thing happened…
We used our turn-taking solution all month long, and started a new month with a new agreement. However, as I sit down to write this, I realize: it’s been ages since I’ve even asked the question “Whose day is it?”
I’m not sure exactly why we aren’t even having to debate about who goes first anymore, but I have a few theories:
1) As the weeks went by and our daily routine changed, the children picked new favourite activities, and we haven’t been playing as many group activities.
2) The “ME FIRST” argument was part of a bigger worry about whether life is “fair” and the kids have lost interest in trying to prove their superiority in this way.
Here’s what I learned:
- Fairness is impossible (but try telling that to a four- and six-year old.)
- Even if we love our kids equally and immeasurably, it still matters to them that we stand up for their interests.
- A plan made an advance is ALWAYS better than a brilliant ethical argument in the heat of the moment.
How about you? Are your kids passionately fighting for their rights?
What kind of solutions have you tried? What has worked for you?
Do you need some arbitration or support when it comes to helping your kids get along and treat each other fairly?
If you want me to jump in the trenches with you and negotiate some peace, I’m only a phone call away, and you can click here to book a chat for free: http://ameliabehaviour.as.me/intro