How to Help Toddlers Play instead of Fight

This was an answer I gave to a mom in a facebook group who was struggling because her 4 and 2 year olds can not get along, the 4 yo is always taking things from the 2 year old and the only time they don’t have trouble is when she is entertaining them.

My first 2 kids were 18 months apart, I had a friend tell me how she sat with her girls when they were little and showed them how to share and take turns. So I took her advice and did the same with my girls.

This is kind of how it went for me – it took a couple of sessions. I sat on the floor with the girls as they played with their toys. I would say things like “ no, give that back” , “good job, that was so nice of you to share”, “yes, that’s so nice”, “no, look you made your sister sad, it’s not your turn yet.” “ok, now it’s your turn, you can have this”. “ok now it’s her turn, give it to her now “ “good job”. etc. Those are the things I said as I physically move the desired items to the right baby.

I had to physically teach them how to play nicely together, but they became great friends and entertained each other with very few problems in this regard as they grew up. I had to do that to some extent for each new baby as they came of age. It’s a lot of work when they’re little, but I promise they grow really fast- and it pays off! the older moms weren’t lying about how fast they grow ! Days are long, years are short.

The kids leave but the housework is always there! My girls are now 23 and 21- one married and one on a mission!


Amber is the mother of 8 kids ages 19 - 6 including 6 boys in a row and a set of twins. She has a lot of experience with homeschooling, parenting, getting kids to do their chores, cleaning and keeping it all organized. She currently lives in France with the 6 boys- the oldest is on a mission for their church in Tahiti, and the next daughter is headed to college in January!