How to Get Kids to Play Nice Together

Updated on August 03, 2009
M.R. asks from Phoenix, AZ
7 answers

Hello everyone, i was just wanting some tips on how to get my two kids ages 4yrs and 1 1/2 yrs to play nice together. we are inside most of the time and its a cramped area ( we live in a motor home.) I try to get them to play nicely with toys or games but they end up fight the young one of course takes things and then the fighting begins. So my question is how can i find activity and game to play with both of my kids and how can i stop the fighting?

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So What Happened?

Okay thank you all i am glad to know that its normal and i do all those things you have all suggested i guess its just what they do. I will try harder to get them to do things nicely

More Answers



answers from Phoenix on

We took a parenting class that said to let each child have some special toys that they don't have to share. I think the advice is good when the 1-1/2 year old is trying to take away from the 4 year old for the 4 year old to give a different toy. Also, do you ever get out alone with the 4 year old? Can you leave the 1-1/2 year old with a babysitter or when your husband comes home go out with the 4 year old even if just for a half hour.

One mistake I know is that I concentrated too much on the baby and the babies needs and my daughter was feeling left out. Not saying you do that, but it's easy to do. Or maybe you can play games with the 4 year old when the younger one sleeeps.

I think as parents we try to solve our kids battles too much. How about if you tell the 4 year old I know you can work this out. You are very smart and I know you can figure something out in a nice way.

Do your kids like to color, maybe give them each their own color book and say they can't take or color on the other ones. What about teaching them to play Go Fish or the memory game with cards where they turn them all upside down and try to match them up. If you have a computer, I am sure you can look up and find many more games. Also, at this age play dough was one of my kids favorite toys. I would put them at the kitchen table and let them create. Water colors are also good.

What about taking them to parks that have the water that sprays up. Desert breeze has one with animals that spray water. I don't where you live, or if you have a little yard space but what about a little swimming pool that blows up or something like that.

My kids loved being in the pool/sprinklers often. Watch carefully and use lots of sunscreen.

Do you like crafts. There are many crafty things you can do too. If you have a computer look up My kids loved those little pot holder kits - this would probably entertain your oldest.

I meant to say the arguing/fighting is so normal at this age. Don't look at it if it's your fault or there is something wrong. I think if you don't focus on it and don't comment on it as much maybe it will help. I know I tried too hard to solve all my kids issues thinking if they were fighting I was doing something wrong, but kids are kids and they feel things are always unfair, they get jealous and they don't like to share. If you try to allow them time to solve it (and step in only when necessary- don't let them hurt one another). They will learn some valuable coping skills. This is hard as a mom to do though.

One other idea, have you looked into play groups where you can get out of the house with other moms and kids close to your kids ages? This is very helpful - you need some mommy time for yourself too. And the kids would probably love to play with kids their own age.

Take care and God bless, I hope this helps,



answers from Phoenix on

I swear you posted another question like this a while back....Well in close quaters kids will be kids and yes they will fight. Its hard living like this with active kids that need room to run and play. The best thing to do is keep them engaged in activites and productive as you can. When its not so hot...when the sun goes down let them out to play! I know its still warm but even 30min of active play will burn some energy.

We stayed with my SO sister for a few months and we were in tight space and the kids were 1 and 2 at that time so every night we did go outside so they could at the very leaste run around. It helped alot.

Now the 1 1/2 yr old is going to be hard to involve in exactly what the 4 yr old does. They are at different levels but things my 16mos old and 4 yr old can do together are paint, color, blocks....they don't really fight but at times any typical 4 yr old gets frustrated with the younger sibling because they just don't play the "right" way according to them! LOL Well good luck!



answers from Flagstaff on

read siblings without rivalry



answers from Phoenix on

My daughter is two years older than her brother. We had a problem with him walking in and taking her stuff, starting a fight. I taught her to negotiate with him. If he took something she wanted, she was allowed to find something else for him to play with and trade it out for the thing he had taken. She knew not to just grab her stuff back, because then he would scream and cry. She got really good at acting like the new toy was the best thing in the world and then her brother really wanted to trade. She got what she wanted and he was happy with what he got. It helped her to learn how to deal with other kids and it helped my sanity not to have to always fix things. Now that they are a little older, they play really well together and my son is even great at negotiating with his sister for stuff.
One other thing, I needed to make sure that there was time and space for my daughter to be alone with out having to deal with her brother. Even if that means your older child gets time alone in a bedroom to play. Then they have a break from "dealing" with the younger one. Then the time they have to be together, your older one won't be so worn out on the whole thing.
Good luck.



answers from Phoenix on

Whatever you choose (and I'm sure there are ideas out or online with such an age gap) it will probably take your tight supervision to make sure it goes smoothly. Personality leads some kids to passively let things go to the other sibling...but obviously not the case in your place. It sounds normal for the developmental level your kids are at right now. My neighboor going through the same. (And she has a big house)
The concept of possession/ ownership and sharing (when, why, with whom, etc) take quite a while to learn.
Maybe you can designate a few toys that must be shared vs those that may not be. (Home day care people do this...their kids' toys are "not daycare toys" (which must be shared).



answers from Phoenix on

It's so hard to be in a small space with two small kids, isn't it?

Well, M., kids this age don't really play together. They're too far apart developmentally and children don't really play together till about 3 - so your 1 1/2 year old is just going to take whatever your older son has - because that's normal for him.

If I were you, I would take them outside as soon as they wake in the morning and let them play (if possible). Keep them hydrated, of course. At least they'll get some fresh air and wear themselves out a bit. Inside, your four year old can color or play with toys at the table while your little one plays on the floor. This gives your older son his own space. Be sure your little guy (girl?) has some fun things to play with on the floor.

I would not be too hard on your four year old for being frustrated but but teach him how to give his younger sibling a different toy when there is a conflict.

Good luck!




answers from Phoenix on

Can you get out of the house and go to the library or mall? Sounds like you all have some "cabin fever". Getting out and about helps with my kids alot! Also, the 18month old is probably too young...but your 4 year old could be motivated by a sticker chart. Make a chart and everytime you catch your 4 year old being nice/sharing give her a sticker. Make a realistic goal and when she earns enough stickers...take her to the dollar store. Good luck!