Use The ‘I Cut, You Pick’ Strategy For Dividing Things Between Kids  

Use The ‘I Cut, You Pick’ Strategy For Dividing Things Between Kids  
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“She has more!” “His cup is filled higher!” Her slice is bigger!” “It’s not fair!

Photo: CircaSassy/Flickr

Oh, to be a kid facing life’s great injustices. There’s never true equality when it comes to the division of chocolate, juice, LEGO pieces and cake. Adults who hear these complaints from children often think they have just a few options: 1) Let them duke it and hope for the best, 2) take the thing away from everyone while stomping and yelling, “That’s it! NOBODY GETS ANY!” or 3) get out the measuring tools and divide portions precisely, feeling like a sucker.

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There is an easier method. In The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting, authors Paul Raeburn and Kevin Zollman offer the “I cut, you pick” strategy, which allows parents to create “envy-free” divisions.

You simply have one child divide the collection of desirable things into two piles (or the glass of juice into two cups, or whatnot), and the other child gets to pick.

The next time they’re required to share, the kids will make sure there’s an even distribution. According to Raeburn, the strategy works well, as long as you take turns in choosing who cuts and who picks.


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