Any techniques/advice appreciated. I was an only child, with no extended family, so I have no experience to fall back on.
My 4.5 year old has always been very demanding as far as attention goes. She's not great at solo play - even tablet/TV time requires my undivided attention ("Mummy, you're not watching!") and if I walk away to make a drink, she follows me. She talks incessantly.
My 18month old is a completely different character. She happily plays with toys, loves watching baby programs on TV. She's a joy. But she's a toddler, so she snatches, runs away with jigsaw pieces, tramples the My Little Pony village and generally causes havoc.
I work all week and am frequently solo with both girls for a lot of the weekend.
Any idea how to balance their needs? Taking turns and playing together isn't working because S (18mths) doesn't understand the concept and E (4.5) expects to see some justice, over and above a gentle "no, it's E's turn" .... But I'm not going to discipline a baby for snatching....
E (4.5) is constantly begging me to play with her, then flies into a rage when S joins in because she "isn't doing it right". Then S snatches something and E cries..... E is forever taking S's toys off her mid play, for mo reason other than to be cruel.
If I put something on TV for S, E moans/shouts/stamps all the way through, then insists on picking the next programme because it's "her turn". She then deliberately chooses something she knows S doesn't like. But this only results in S climbing or doing some other wild behaviour that requires my direct supervision - ending in E abandoning the show, finding us and asking me to play with her....
I just tried reading books to them together, but S was wild, climbing all over me, grabbing the books, trying to turn the pages too soon. It was really irritating E. Then S toddled off and returned with one of her books. I had read two long picture books of E's choice, so I declared S's book was next. E flew into a rage because she had decided what order her chosen ten books should be read in and Rabbits Nap (S's book) didn't feature.... I declared reading time over, until she could take turns....
.... I'm now downstairs with S, watching Teletubbies. S is loving it. E came downstairs and announced she wanted to watch a show. I said she could watch Teletubbies with us or a different show upstairs,in my room. She picked a different show. As I was leaving my bedroom, she said "will you watch it with me?". I can't leave a toddler downstairs alone so I had to decline.
I know E just wants my undivided attention. I know she must feel as though I'm always choosing S over her. But S is 18mths old, I can't leave her alone downstairs while I play with E in her room, so if E won't compromise (which means accepting that S doesn't know not to snatch yet), she's always going to be sulking alone somewhere
Any thoughts appreciated.