Often, children can work these out on their own. Still, parents can help:

• Help choose appropriate playmates. If you know that a child has a completely different style and personality from your child’s, playdates with that child may have to be kept short, closely supervised or even put off until the children are older.

• Bring out your kitchen timer. The timer is great for fights over games and toys. Let one child have his way, then set the timer for three to five minutes. When it goes off, it’s the other child’s turn to have his way.

• Use duplicates. Instead of putting out a batch of red playdough and a batch of blue, put out two batches of red. This way there’s no fighting over who gets what color.

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