I just returned from a house of twins that I work with. Mom casually said to me, “Oh, I did what you said and it worked!” Of course I had to be reminded what I had told her.

Last visit, Mom had told me that Max, her 2 1/2 year-old “laid back” twin was in a stage of wanting to everything himself–even when he couldn’t do it!! Apparently he was trying unsuccessfully to get his shirt off, was stuck, she tried to help and he started having a tantrum. There was no way he was going to get his shirt off by himself or accept help. Sounds funny imagining him stuck in his shirt unless you are his mom.

I suggested that she introduce the idea of “taking turns.” Max could take a turn trying to “do it himself” and then it was mom’s turn to help. She carried over the concept to playtime when the twins were arguing about playing with the same toy. Max gets a turn with the toy and then Matt gets a turn. Many times when you are explaining situations like this, using language, kids stop fighting, protesting or whining because they have to listen to you and process what you are saying.

Model taking turns throughout your day. You might be stirring up some brownies or weeding the garden. Stop and say, “Your turn” and hand the spoon or shovel to your child and then take it back, labeling “my turn.”

Life is full of give and take and kids need to learn this valuable lesson lest they think they are in charge all the time!