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What to do when your toddlers don't want to share?

"It's mine!"

"Please share."

"Take turns"

"Sharing is caring."

"Why don't you share?"

"You can't play if you don't want to share."

Are these sound familiar to you?

Have you been in an uncomfortable situation where your child refuses to share a toy with another child at the playground or during a playdate?

So why toddlers do not like to share?

It is because they simply have no idea yet what sharing means. Sharing is hard for toddlers because it involves thinking about someone else's feelings, wants, and needs and they haven't developed the ability to do that yet.

Toddlers are in an egocentric phase of development, just starting to recognize themselves as individuals with their own things. “That’s why you hear them saying MINE!” They don’t yet understand that things can belong to other people, too, not just to them!

What can we do to help toddlers learn to share?

  • Don't force them - They’re simply not developmentally ready for sharing yet, so don’t force them or scold them when they don’t share.

  • Be a good model - If we parents share our time and things, our kids will learn to do it too.

  • Gently Guide Them -  For one-year-olds, try using distraction and redirection during sharing spats. For two-year-olds, get down on their level, empathize, and try to calmly offer possible solutions. For older toddlers, try to encourage them to use appropriate language (use words to express their thoughts and feelings) to work out the situation.

  • Teach them to take turns - We usually tell toddlers, you can play with the toy for 1 minute, then is Lara's turn. However, toddlers simply don't understand the concept of time. Instead, we may offer choices "What about you sing a Finger family song?". Once you finished the song, you get your turn. Same goes to Lara.

Rest assured your toddler’s sharing woes aren’t a reflection of bad parenting or a sign she’ll grow up to be selfish. Self-centeredness in toddlerhood is a normal developmental stage and it takes patience to support your toddlers to develop.

By Casa Bambini Early Childcare Centre

Childcare Centre for 2months to 4 years old

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