Posted: Dec 26, 2012 4:06 AM
Where there is playtime, there may be battles. While these battles can be stressful, they also present opportunities to teach your important children life skills.

There are three common playtime battles, ways The Mommy Master Ellie Hirsch, author, singer/songwriter and mom to three boys under the age of 6:

  • The children aren't getting along.
  • The children can't agree on which activity to do.
  • The children won't share.

Anticipating potential problems may help you head them off, and having a plan in place may help you resolve battles that do arise.

The children aren't getting along

An old friend. A peaceful playdate starts with your choice of participants. Making playdates with children who are friends is a good start, but even BFFs can find themselves at war. It helps if the kids are both in good moods!

A new friend. Don't avoid playdates with new friends just to keep the peace. "It obviously makes sense to make playdates with children who are friends, but sometimes the goal is to socialize and make new friends," says Hirsch.

Solution^ "If you find the children are not getting along, quickly find out why," advises Hirsch. Are they bored? Are they being mean to each other? "It's the responsibility of the mom whose house it is to create a fun environment for the kids."

Don't be tempted to use your child's playdate as a babysitter. "At the preschool age, you should keep a close eye on everyone and be somewhat involved in the play," cautions Hirsch.

One child wants to do a different activity than the other child

This happens a lot. The host child wants to share a particular toy but the visiting child brought his own. Or one wants to play outdoors while the other prefers to stay inside. At this age, the battle can turn into a stalemate.

Solution^ Hirsch recommends doing a little of both activities to make everyone happy. "As the host, I remind my son that we have a guest over and we need to make sure he is having a fun time."

One or both of the children will not share

Sharing isn't always easy for preschool children, who can be very possessive of their special belongings. "In my house, I want to make sure our preschool guest feels comfortable," explains Hirsch. "I tell my son that he always gets to play with his toys, but his friend is only here for a short while."

Regardless of who is not sharing, Hirsch reminds both children that sharing is very important. "Not sharing makes the other friend sad, and we don't want anyone to be sad." Encourage empathy by asking the children how it feels when someone else doesn't share. And restate the Golden Rule: We should treat others the way we want to be treated.

More great tips for preschool parents

Teaching independence through play
Should you schedule your preschooler?
Mommy school ideas