Negotiators: Ages Nine and Five (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)
I have a nine-year-old and a five-year-old who love each other to death, but do occasionally bicker. I tend to be far more impatient with the older child, since he is much more capable of finding something else to entertain himself. I generally remind him that, if he wants something that his sister has, he has to offer to trade something else.
If he really, really wants it, he will work fairly hard to get her to agree to a trade. When the argument is more philosophical (such as, he wants to play Harry Potter or Spider Man, and she wants to play her own made-up game “Babies in the Woods”) I will pull him aside and tell him to play the game HER way for 20 minutes, after which I will relieve him and he can go do whatever he wants. Sometimes when the 20 minutes has passed, they have found a middle ground that keeps them both happy.
Of course, now that my daughter has heard this conversation too many times, before I actually intervene, I will hear her say things like, “Daddy says you have to do it my way, because I have not yet reached the age of reason.”
(See Bickering about LEGOS.)