In our household we have a three year old trying to play with a one year old.
On the whole this works really well. Most of the time.
Every now and then though, the ability to overpower the one year old seems to spread through the mind and body of the three year old. At this point, when the one year old is being pinned, squished with vigour or generally poked, prodded and shoved about, I find myself stepping in.
As I am an only child I have no experience of brotherly or sisterly torment, but I have seen the torment at work with others. So while I am mindful of the ‘taking sides’ issue it is rather hard to be fully balanced about this when one of the perpetrators is only a year old and looks at you with a vaguely disbelieving and frowny face when “told off” for excessively rough play.
Still, I am perservering as I believe that it is my job to set up the ground rules even though one of them doesn’t really understand yet. It seems to help the three year old to see that her brother does not get away with everything under the sun “because he is still little” and “he’s too little to understand yet”, while she is expected to behave better because she “is bigger and understands”.
I must confess that I hadn’t given this too much thought in advance of them beginning to play together. So the reality of our engagement rules are pretty simple and came to me while talking to Miss Oh about how to play with others.
I’m pretty happy with the Rules of the Game so far, since they can apply not only to her games with her brother, but to anyone else she plays with. And, importantly they are not complicated and there are not dozens of them for her to remember.
So here are Ms Oh Waily’s “Rules of the Game”, what are yours?
- If everyone isn’t having fun, it isn’t “fun”.
- No hurting others.