I've decided to share some of the things that make our house unique and run well. These will not be in any certain order, but whichever order I can think of them. I also want to make sure that everyone knows that God is the main thing that makes this whole situation work. There are however a few things that I've found help as well though. :)
First of all, I do not require sharing or referee toys. I know this sounds very odd, but I can't stand to hear "But I had it first" in the world's whiniest voice declared to me many times a day. I have no real way of knowing who had a toy first. Every mom knows that once one child declares it then the other has to beat them with an even whinier voice. I would be unable to live outside of the mental institution if I had to try and really decide who to believe. I would undoubtedly sometimes choose wrongly! I would then empower a child to believe that lying was working out for them and therefore use that behavior over and over in hopes of it working out again.
Here is how it works here. Toys that belong to someone are always at the discretion of the person to whom they belong. If it belongs to someone and they want it then it goes to them without question. I really think I teach a good lesson with this though. If you want someone to share with you, then you should share with them, because everyone has a choice. If you want to use someone's things then treat them kindly and their things with care, because they don't have to let you use them. I have to say that my children are very kind to each other as a result. I will not be the "Keeper of the Key to Using All Items in This House". Play nice (literally or figuratively) or others may not let you play at all.
There is also a specific way that I handle disagreements over toys that don't have a specific owner. If toys belong to the group and are things that therefore have to be "shared", then you better not fight over them. If a toy is causing my children to have a disagreement and has become more important to them than their sibling, then it must leave the situation. The toy will end up on top of a refrigerator or in my closet, before it causing my children to fight (or me to listen to it).
I must say that these things have worked well for me over the years. I never hear those dreaded words any more (well unless a new child joins our family and doesn't 'get it' yet). I think they have learned how to get along, share, treat others as you want to be treated, and just as important not drive me crazy! lol