Mercedes and Emerald adore each other. Most of the time. But now that Emerald is becoming increasingly mobile, she has been interrupting Mercedes' play times more and more. She'll knock down Mercedes' towers, grab her toys and just be a disruption in general. I try to prevent these incidences but sometimes I'm a few seconds too late and Mercedes responds...well, like a 2 year old. She'll yell "MINE" or "NO" and grab her toy back or push Emerald down. Each time I tell her a more appropriate way to handle the situation. But after the 10th time this morning of reminding her she's not allowed to yell at Emerald, push her, grab from her or hurt her in any way, I decided it was time for a more creative approach.
We went to her chill spot and did some role playing. I pretended to be Mercedes, and she pretended to be Emerald. She was cracking up the whole time, and I think the lesson stuck better than any amount of reminding and nagging ever could.
Here are a few scenarios we practiced:
1. Mercedes is playing with toys. Emerald grabs toy.
Wrong way (we always did the wrong way first so the right way would stick in her mind better): Mercedes pushes Emerald down and yells "MINE!"
Right way: Mercedes says "No thank you, Emerald" in a stern voice and then yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy finds Emerald something else to play with.
2. Emerald is playing with a toy that Mercedes wants.
Wrong way: Mercedes yells "MINE!" and grabs toy.
Right way: Mercedes says "Can I please play with that toy? You can play with mine". And they trade toys.
Second right way: Mercedes finds another toy to play with and waits until Emerald is finished.
3. Mercedes is playing and Emerald walks over and hits her (Emerald does this all the time, just trying to play).
Wrong way: Mercedes hits Emerald back.
Right way: Mercedes says "No, thank you Emerald!" moves away from her and yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy takes Emerald away.
4. Mercedes is building a tower and Emerald knocks it down.
Wrong way: Mercedes yells, "NO EMERALD!" and hits her or pushes her down.
Right way: Mercedes says, "No thank you, Emerald." and yells "Mommy help please!" and Mommy helps Mercedes rebuild her tower and finds Emerald something else to play with.
We practiced each of these (and similar ones) a million times. Mercedes thought it was hilarious and totally got into the role playing. As Emerald gets older, she will have stricter rules too, but at 10 months the most effective way of handling her grabbing, messing up the toys and playing rough is to redirect.