Sometimes it’s not fair…these game theory strategies may help children make fair decisions and stop the squabbling.

A child’s list of things that are “not fair” is seemingly endless.

Researchers have found that children as young as 19 months seem to understand the concept of fairness…

Given that a child’s desire for life to be fair seems to be hard wired…Instead, he suggests applying classic game theory strategies to help children make “fair” decisions and stop the squabbling.

I Cut, You Pick: … like cake, allows each child to make a choice: One divides the desired good, and the other chooses.

Tit for Tat:When children are faced with the job of cleaning up a joint mess, suggest “you pick up one, then he picks up one,”…

Random Dictator: In Random Dictator, a family faced with a choice that affects every family member (what movie to watch, what cereal to buy, which restaurant to go to) has each family member write down a selection, then draws a single one from a hat.

Auction: … Try auctioning the desired reward to the highest bidder, using chores, other privileges or even Halloween candy as currency… At first, he says, parents might have to monitor the fairness of the auction process itself — but children who like it may end up running auctions on their own.

…Parents have to recognize that sometimes, no matter how logical the division of everything from elevator buttons to our time and attention seems to us, one child feels less loved…

Source: When a Child Thinks Life Is Unfair, Use Game Theory – The New York Times