The ability to share with others isn’t a skill that comes naturally to most children. One mom and dad decided when their daughter was young that she didn’t need to share any toys that had been given specifically to her. This kept their daughter happy in the short term because she didn’t have to share any of her toys, not even with her younger sister. However, when their daughter started school, she struggled to make friends partly because she wasn’t very good at sharing.
While teaching children to share isn’t easy, it can help to discuss your expectations for sharing ahead of time. For example, before another child comes over to play you may want to talk to your child about sharing and allow your child to select one special toy that can be put away which does not need to be shared. When their friends come over to play, all other toys need to be shared.
Even after discussing sharing in advance, it is likely for young playmates to get in a fight over a toy. You can then help them figure out how they might be able to share the toy. You will be teaching them an essential friendship skill!
The skill of sharing
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I have a friend who tells her kids that the toys are NOT hers, they belong to Mom and Dad, so that's why they need to share.... I am unclear as to how she's going to expect sharing when the kids realize they have been specifically gifted a toy and need to share that, but it was an interesting concept. I have also heard of parents having their kids put away 1 special toy before each playdate that they do not want to share, and sharing the rest. They cannot play with the special toy while their friends are there, but they can after the playdate is over. Again, an interesting concept, but I think it'll be difficult to explain however you choose to do it! Thanks so much for your great blog!
Thanks for adding these ideas Liz!
I do think at a certain age sharing feels impossible - for toddlers for example. I think there are times to move them into sharing and times to let them be where they are. But the big question always is WHEN TO DO WHICH?? And as they get older of course, move them into more and more and more.
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