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Tell why you don't make your kid share.

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
It's time for me to decide if I should teach my dd to share...or should I say 'force' her to share.
I can see both sides, but I haven't heard much about why a parent shouldn't force a child to share. If someone told me that I 'have' to share my favorite, best cooking pot with my neighbor, I'd be really irked. I'd say, no....I need that pot and it's my favorite. And besides, what if my neighbor ruins my favorite pot?

I was thinking about this approach.
Encourage her to share, but then let her decide to share or not to share.
post #2 of 49
I don't make my child share her special things, and if there are things she is very against sharing I talk with her about finding alternate things. I rarely had little friends over to the house before dd was at the age when she could consistently share some things though because I didn't feel that it was right to force her to share her things with others or for a child to come over and then be refused the right to play because dd wasn't at a stage where she was willing to share. I also didn't let her just steal things from a friend and leave the friend in tears just because she felt like having a specific toy when we were out. I think that is a different issue then having friends over to play and trying to decide how much to push the sharing issue. If you don't feel she is able to handle a lot of sharing right now then do yourself and her friends a favor and try to find other places to play where that expectation isn't there.
post #3 of 49

How We Approached Sharing

For very small children, forced sharing doesn't make sense because the child doesn't even understand what sharing is. With forced sharing, toddlers and young preschoolers start to think sharing just means "you have to give it to the other kid." That's no way to build positive feelings toward sharing, or to foster a sense of what sharing really is.

For older kids, forced sharing doesn't respect the feelings of the child who is expected to give (sharing can be really hard), and produces a gesture that is disingenuous.

With two children close in age sharing was an important skill at our house, and at 3.5 and 4.5 years old, I'm very happy with how our kids share. However, we actually limited our use of the word "share" until our girls were about 2 and 3. At that age, they started to legitimately understand what it meant (and I think they were on the early end of the spectrum). Before that, we worked on other simpler (but related) skills that were more meaningful to them, and appropriate for their ages.

If you think about it, the idea of sharing is quite abstract. At one and a half or two most kids seem to understand sharing as, "sharing means you have to give it to me," or, "sharing means that I have to give it up to the other kid." And even when kids that young will share, it's often to get approval or to avoid punishment from the parent who is pushing for it, not to really experience the joys that come from sharing and connecting with another child.

We've always tried to match what we ask the kids to do with their level of development and comprehension. Small kids understand the concept of waiting long before they understand sharing for example. Some are better with this stuff than others, but waiting and turn taking are more concrete than sharing and are easier to teach or to form habits with. When the girls were little, I would often orchestrate the situation such that the wait was very short, but nevertheless, it helped to underscore the idea that just because another child has a toy that doesn't mean they will have it forever... you will get a turn very soon.

We enforced that it is not okay to snatch things from other children, and that it is necessary to ask for the toy or to wait until the other child finishes. With very little kids, asking only served the purpose of flagging the situation as something that needed to be mediated by an adult. But it worked well. It was a something simple that little kids could learn to do, and it gave a third party the chance to intervene before things came to blows. And, after many, many such interventions, our girls eventually became accomplished negotiators.

When we did introduce sharing it was not in the context of one toy for two kids. We would share a bowl of popcorn, or we would peel an orange and divide up the sections amongst everyone. We would use the word "share" in conjunction with words like "together." Once the kids were mature enough to actually engage in cooperative activities they were able to start applying sharing to situations like one ball and two kids.

Until the kids were developmentally ready to share the key was to manage the environment and the activities so as to limit clashes as much as possible, thus avoiding the need for forced sharing :

- If friends came over to play, and we knew that four kids would all want to use the toy doll stroller, we'd just put it away or we'd make sure that there were four push toys available.

- We have never bought into the idea that we need to have two of every single thing just because we had two similarly aged kids, but we do our best to respect that some items are very popular or extra special... and sometime it is fair to have two or three of something.

- On difficult days we presented activities that lent themselves well to parallelism... building with blocks, drawing with crayons, playing with dinky cars, sand play, reading stories... stuff where there was lots to go around or where there was less opportunity to compete for a limited resource.

One other thing we do is to try and give the kids as much control as possible, and to help them to really understand he situation. I would very often point out that not everybody is having fun, and ask the kids what we should do. When our oldest was not quite two and our youngest was a baby we simply pointed out that everybody needed toys to play with, and we would ask what the baby was going to play with. If she didn't like the toy our oldest offered, we pointed out that she wasn't happy, and that playing together needed to be fun for everybody. Sharing wasn't forced, but there has always been an expectation that everybody have fun.
post #4 of 49
I think the poster above said most of what I wanted to say! - We are in the 'don't make them share' camp as well...

Modeling behaviour is the first most important thing (for all things - not just sharing!) -and for me this includes not 'snatching' from a child either. There have been two cases where my son has snatched from another child but I feel that it would not help to teach him how to behave more appropriatly if I just 'snatched' the toy back from him (gentle pried from his hands, however you want to word it - There are many here who might argue that no matter what, a snatched toy must be given back even if that means prying the toy out of their childs hands ... I think this action to a very small child can be rather confusing, you are doing just what you told them not to do as sharing is very complex to understand...and perhaps to them they were not 'snatching' at all in the first place, maybe they too were just removing a toy from a child who they felt should not have it?). This has never been a real issue with my son - after explaining that so and so was playing with that, we will have to wait our turn, perhaps we could play with something else during that time, would you like to give the toy back - my son has given the toy back and moved on and waited his turn...But I have looked after other children who do not so easily give up an item snatched (I find it no coincidence that 'share' is also often shouted at them and that items are often forcably removed from their hands - that sharing is still such an issue for them even at the age of 4+) - this is when I feel that focusing on the offended child is most important (without shaming the other child). I do not think this teaches the child who snatched that their actions were okay at all - it instead can teach them not to snatch through natural concequences (oh - im not getting attention, even negative, for this...and so and so really doesnt like playing with me so much now and its pretty lonely over here all by myself even though I do have desired toy...maybe snatching isnt such a good idea and its more fun to be a part of everything with everyone together sharing, etc). Perhaps shortly later, it can be talked about (We really liked that toy and its so hard to wait sometimes isnt it? - What can we do next time we want a toy that someone else is playing with?, etc - If other feelings were involved or passed hurts came up, those too can be addressed).

But I will add one thing that I found very useful to 'say' - because of what the poster above has pointed out (about how sharing is pretty complex and hard for smaller ones to understand) - I read this a readers digest once (it was actually a very good article that also talked about how not to use manipulative praise with our child - very alfie kohn! - Surprised me! hehe)...

We often have friends over at our house. I find with my son I have to especially prepare him for everything - transitions, etc - So when it comes to 'sharing', one thing I have noticed is how most people I know just shout 'SHARE' to their children (and how despite this, they have to continue to shout this!)...This certainly wouldnt be 'helpful' to my son either. Its non-descriptive and once again, the concept is hard to understand in the first place so shouting it to your child really doesn't help. The RD also explained how something is said to a child - and how they actually might hear it. When we say 'share' to our child - what they really hear is 'Give away all your stuff'. So what they said is better to say/explain is 'XXX is still your toy, so and so would like to play with it for a little it, but they will give it back because xxx is still your toy' - something along those lines. And I find that this really does help. My son is happy to know that that is still his toy, and that he will indeed get it back - and so is happy to let so and so play with it for a bit!
For very 'special' toys (my son has a lovely for example) - it might be best to explain to a child that friends are coming over and what they will do when they come over and that perhaps if we don't want so and so to play with special xxx - then maybe we could put it up in a special place whilst they are over so they don't.
I even find now though, that my son is nearly 3 and a half years old - that he does not mind sharing his special stuff becuase he really does understand sharing much more now.
post #5 of 49
Sharing is only sharing if it's not forced. Otherwise it's grudgingly letting someone else use your stuff because mommy or daddy said so and that doesn't make you feel good like sharing does.

the closest we came to forced sharing is explaining to DD that in public places, like at school or the park, the things that are there are there for everyoneso you have to respect the fact that other kids are going to want to use something too.

We explained that it makes other people happy to let them use something of hers and while it's not required of her to share, it is nice to consider her reason not to share against the others reason to want to use what she has. Early on it didn't work to well because of development restrictions (i.e. not having the reasoning or critical thinking skills needed) but as she got older she's been able to ask her self why she doesn't want to share and if their is an alternative or a better reason to share.

DH and I don't have to share with anyone, not even eachother so why force DD to? It's more important for her to see and experience what real sharing is and learn that real sharing can make everyone feel good and not just yourself or the other person.
post #6 of 49
I don't really understand some things about not making kids share. Adults do have to share things every day. I can think of several things that I share w/my dh, my kids, coworkers, etc. that I would rather not share.

So isn't it valuable to teach kids skills they will need to use as they get older?

I expect my kids 3 and 6 to share things, for us that means that if one kid finds something that is the other's in the playroom (for ex.) and they start playing w/it, the owner should not take the object away and instead let the brother play w/it. I don't expect them to share very special things, but those things they deem as special are to be put up or away in the thier designated areas (each boy has a special place/box to put special things). They also have to share/take turns when playing computer games, etc.

I am asking this question bc I want to understand, not bc I am judging others' in this area.

I definately question the value of forcing children to do something that you want them to do for internal reasons. So I see both arguements.
post #7 of 49
I can't think of anything I share regularly with others because I have no choice that aren't communal items or not actually belonging to me.

However, not forcing sharing doesn't mean not teaching sharing. It's just more of a respectful way of teaching them through encouragement without forcing and modeling the desired behaviour.

FTR, DD hated it when other kids were forced to share with her. If it was between getting what she wanted because an adult forced it or not getting what she wanted, she prefered not to get what she wanted. Fostering that empathy also helped us in teaching DD to share.
post #8 of 49
I think the idea of what things must be shared and what should be up to the child is complex in and of itself. Not every sharing situation is the same. There are times when the items in question belong soley to the child and their are times when the item/items belong to the group or community. Their are times when their is an item that can only be used by one child at a time and times when it is an item meant to be used by several people. While I don't believe in forced sharing my response is different depending on the situation.

If the item is my dd and it can only be used by one child at a time, than I wouldn't insist that she share whether or not she is currently using it. She has a very special doll, that is her security object and I would try to pick it up if I saw she was done with it because I know it would really upset her to have another child play with it. If we had another child over who wanted to play with it, I wouldn't even insist in this case that it be put away, but I would just offer the other child one of Juliette's other dolls (we have at least 4 other babydolls in addition to the special doll). I would not offer a doll that was currently in Juliette's hands though. I would just make available another choice. If Juliette started to get upset I would insist that the other child gets to play babies too. Juliette may choose a doll and then the other child may choose. So in that sense I would make her share, but only in the sense that we have more than enough toys to play with and everyone needs to have toys to have fun. I would not insist she share something very special and I would not remove something from her hands to give it to another child in the name of sharing.

If it was something like blocks or legos where it is meant to be used by several children then yes we must share. If it helps I might divide the pieces in half to fill two buckets so each child has their own. I also would not allow children to remove pieces from someone else's structure (to me that's the same as taking toys out of the other child's hand), but I would emphasize that there are enough to go around and so everyone gets some to play with.

Sometimes there is only one of something and there aren't any alternatives for the other child. In that case I just say that you have to wait until the other child is done. And for the most part I just let them use it until they are finished and then pass it on to the other child. With older children (4 and up) I think you can teach children to ask "how many minutes until you're finished?" Then the child can choose a number and you can tell them when that number of minutes is up. Sometimes though a child doesn't want to share a toy even when they are done using it and then if it is their toy I would just put it away until the playdate is over. If they don't want to share a toy and their are no similar toys available for the other child, then it needs to get put away.

And then of course their is the communal situation. When you're at mommy and me or a playgroup, or indoor playspace, or the park. At these places it's understood (at least by the grown-ups)that no child has ownership of the items and they must be shared. This is one of the trickiest places to work out these types of problems because everyone has different expectations for what a child should share. My personal feelings though are much the same. If the item is her very special doll (which I do allow her to bring places because it is her comfort item, she needs it for transitioning into a new situation) she does not have to share it EVER. When she no longer needs to hang on to it, I put in my purse until we go home. If is something like blocks or markers or whatever she doesn't have to share the items in her hand, but she has to let other children use the rest of the items. If it's an item only one child can use at a time then she gets to use it until she is done and then it is the next child's turn. If she leaves an item and then decides she wasn't done, but another child has started to use it, she has to wait until the other child is done to get it back.

I had a pretty difficult time in this sort of situation a couple weeks ago at our mommy and me class. It was our very first week in a new group, the children and mommies were all playing outside and the teacher had run inside to clean up snack. Dd was playing inside one of those little tyke cozy coupes (which she adores, but we don't have one at home) there was another little girl in the other cozy coupe and there were a couple other ride on toys at least one of which was unoccupied. A little boy decided he wanted to go in the car my dd was in he tried to pull the door open, but my dd held it closed and said ,"No, my turn!" I tried to reflect feelings by saying "oh you both really want to use the car." He kept trying to get and dd reached out her hand to push him away. I told her "you may not push him, but I see you really don't want him to come in the car" and then I turned to the boy and said "she's telling you she's not done with the car" The other mom came over and held her son who was getting more upset, I told dd that R really wanted a turn and could she please let him know when she was done. I also pointed out the other available ride on toys but the little boy was very insistent on going in the cozy coupe. So finally another parent comes over and tells us that usually teacher Melody has them just count to 10 and then they have to give it to the other child. Well this just didn't fit in with my philosophy and of course the teacher wasn't even around to discuss it with. I told them I wasn't comfortable with pulling dd out and that I'd prefer to let her use it until she was done. And as we waited and waited the other little girl got out of the other car and so the little boy was able to get in the car. And the thing is dd never got out of the car until it was time to go in for circle. The next week though she played in the car for a few minutes and then got right out and had no problem with other children playing in the car as well. I really think she clung so tightly to the car because everyone was making a big deal of it and trying to get her to come out. Once she was allowed to play with the item at her leisure, without the threat of it being taken away, she got her fill and moved on to other things.

I also don't worry about dd's ability to share in the long run. She can be very generous at times. In a RIE playgroup we belonged to (where children are never forced to share) I once saw dd take an item from another child's hands and then when she heard him cry she handed it back to him just because he was sad. She was only 16 months at the time. She talks about taking turns a lot now that she's two and I try to model sharing as much as possible. I have no doubt that in time she will be capable of sharing and will do it because she enjoy's it and chooses to do so rather than because she is looking for an external reward or fears a punishment
post #9 of 49
lol those cozy coupes are HORRIBLE for toddlers. Truly, they are impossible to share, but for some reason they are so appealing to the kids. I saw the WORST fights at the playground over them, multiple kids having to leave in tears. One of those never showed up without causing terrible strife amongst the 18m-3yo set. I always felt a severe irritation at whoever designed them and the parents that inflict them on group situations whenever a neighborhood kid rode up to the playground in one...

At that age I tried to always have a few things in my bag that can be shared around, like chalk, water and brushes, digging toys (but only if you have plenty!)... its hard. (and that age kids will still fight over things like that if the mood strikes!) Anyway- tried to set things up for success as much as possible, though my strategies were similar to above posters. My son never had too many issues with sharing, but I don't pat myself on the back too much about it- I think its just his personality. We did have friends over and drop-off playdates quite frequently starting before he was 2, so perhaps he just was used to it from before he got to the age of being really possessive. Certain friends/certain objects do still bring it out in him though. (he's 4 now).
post #10 of 49
My almost 3 year old does not understand sharing at all yet. Our efforts to encourage her to share with her brother aren't working, although we have worked out a "trade" system - i.e., if she isn't happy with what he's playing with, she can swap it out for another toy. This works ok now because he's only a year old and doesn't really care what toy he has as long as it's semi-interesting.

Now, whenever she wants something that we have, she tells us we have to share with her. She picks up on the lessons we try to help her learn and uses them as negotiating tools with us, which is all well and good but difficult when the concepts aren't ones that she really grasps - she can't get the nuances of what sharing really is and when it's appropriate (or not) for her to share or for someone else to share with her. I consider it a work in progress.

I would not ask her to share anything particularly special to her with anyone else. Most things are fair game - toys are pretty resilient. But a couple of her special dinosaur books I let her keep away from her brother. He might damage them (she does herself sometimes - she's pretty hard on toys - but then she's damaging her own book, which is different IMO from someone else damaging your property) and I think she should have a few things that she doesn't have to share. I would feel insecure if I had to share everything with everyone. Even my husband doesn't take good enough care of certain things for me to feel ok with having to share everything with him.

I recently gave her a box and told her she could put her special things or treasures in it. It's a small box. She doesn't "get it" quite yet but I think she's getting close. I want her to have the security of knowing that those few items most important to her will not be baby brother-fodder, while coming to understand that 98% of fun things in the home are shared.
post #11 of 49
DD is going on 3, and she is actually really good at sharing. Through a lot of practice, she has learned that she will get her toy back, and it is always back in just as good condition as before. When she brings a toy to, say, play group, we have the policy that either she share it with her friends or she leaves it in the car. She is very comfortable with that and I leave the decision up to her. If she decides to bring the toy in, and then changes her mind, I put it in my bag for the rest of the visit.

When friends come over, I have put certain things up that I think certain kids will break, and she understands that.

I don't know, she has usually been pretty good about sharing. When it is every bodies toy, like at play group, the biggest issue is that she wants more time with a toy, and others want it as well. Usually I will say something like "2 more minutes, and then its Anna's turn." And she is okay with that.
post #12 of 49
If it's a playdate, we take turns. We use a timer if necessary to let the kids know when their turn is up. It is quite peaceful.

If it is a child on a playground and ds (4) doesn't want to share his playground toys, I tell them that ds is using them right now.

Also, today he adamantly didn't want to share a piece of a playmobil set that all the kids were playing with. I told him it would be nice to share b/c ds has it all the time and his friend has never seen it.

I also give him the option of putting certain toys away before a child comes over to play.

It's not forced, but strongly encouraged.
post #13 of 49
Right... It doesn't have to be "all or nothing". We discuss places and situations in which sharing or taking turns is necessary (public places with public toys, when we have playdates or kids come over as guests), but we discuss it ahead of time- what sharing looks like, etc. We also determine what things are "not sharable" and we don't bring them to playdates or the playground and we put them away when friends come over so that they do not have to be the subject of emotional turmoil.

We don't "make" him share, but if he is unwilling to share/take turns/negotiate, we won't play there. We'll play somewhere else...

It is also what is developmentally appropriate. A 2 yr old is just getting the idea. A 5 yr old can pretty much negotiate toys on their own with their friends.

"Not sharing" ever can be as socially and emotionally counter-productive as ripping things out of your kids hands. Being the kid that no one wants to play with because they are hoarding the stuff or taking it away from others is not cool. Its not cool either to yank things away from kids to "share". But there is a middle ground that can be negotiated if we trust our own social and maternal instincts about what is reasonably appropriate to expect our kids to do and take it one step at a time.
post #14 of 49
I think that sharing is a very important action, but I also think that it is forced upon children at far too young an age.
post #15 of 49
I don't have kids yet, and growing up I was an only child. So, obviously, I didn't have to share anything with siblings. But, I did have 3 very good friends that I knew since we were all in strollers, with whom I played a lot.

None of our families ever even encouraged sharing. What was taught was the idea that sharing was an option you could employ, but if you didn't want to - it was OK. However, you also had to understand that if someone else didn't want to share their toy - that was their prerogative, and you couldn't force that toy from them.

To be honest, I don't understand why this concept of "sharing" is so important. As an adult, I've never been in a situation where I needed (or even wanted) to share - not my clothes, not my kitchen stuff, not my bike, not my car (when I had one), etc. I give to charity, and I "share" things like books, recipes, etc., with my partner and family (if that counts). But, otherwise, I don't do it.

It's just not something that was taught as a virtue. I mean, in reality, how much sharing of "stuff" do adults really do? Donations, giving to charity, etc., isn't sharing in my book - rather giving permanently.

Anyway, my point is - if your kids don't share or don't want to, it's OK. I turned out to be quite the ethical person anyway. And I still give lots of my time to volunteer work, and my money to charity.
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChetMC View Post
\Some are better with this stuff than others, but waiting and turn taking are more concrete than sharing and are easier to teach or to form habits with. When the girls were little, I would often orchestrate the situation such that the wait was very short, but nevertheless, it helped to underscore the idea that just because another child has a toy that doesn't mean they will have it forever... you will get a turn very soon.

\
When we did introduce sharing it was not in the context of one toy for two kids. We would share a bowl of popcorn, or we would peel an orange and divide up the sections amongst everyone. We would use the word "share" in conjunction with words like "together." Once the kids were mature enough to actually engage in cooperative activities they were able to start applying sharing to situations like one ball and two kids.
\
I love every single bit of your post, but these were my favorite bits. I'm actually copying your post into a file on my computer so I'll have it on hand to remind me how to handle this as Lina gets older.

The people who make a huge deal about "sharing" have always irritated me because it seems to always be that they take the part of the second child.

Child A is playing with something. Child B walks up and grabs. Child A gets, understandably, upset. Adult says "child A we have to SHARE" in a voice that'd make them enemies for life of any adult they talked to in that manner.
post #17 of 49
we talk about taking turns and use signlanguage to reinforce that. The kids (18mos, 2 and 4) seem okay with that for the most part. There's always some pouting but they get over it.

What I focus on are the natural impediments to automatic sharing: no hoarding, no grabbing and no taunting. I see those behaviors as more important to discuss and deal with than sharing. Sharing is a complex subject - some things you know to share and some you know to keep isolated. The restrictions on behavior work better because its easy to deal with; if a kid is grabbing and I say "no grabbing" and take it back, the child knows exactly what I meant. If a kid is taunting with a toy and I say "no taunting" and take it away, the kid knows exactly what I meant. If a kid is hoarding everything and I say "no hoarding" and take some things back and return them, the kid knows exactly what I meant. Those actions are specific and obvious enough that when I step in, stop the behavior and say "no" they understand quite well. Sharing then will happen naturally. Which so far as our home, it's worked quite well.
post #18 of 49
I haven't read all the replies, but I wanted to add something that we have done that has helped encourage sharing.

Starting from the beginning if the baby has something they shouldn't we as parentswould try our best to trade something acceptable for the inappropriate object or tell them to do something with the thing we did not want them to have. ie. "Drop the spoon in the sink" "lets put the pen in the drawer" "Give the remote to daddy". I found that usually they enjoyed feeling like they were helping with something.

As the baby got older we would encourage them to trade with other kids if they had a toy they wanted. "Oh, you want the car S is playing with, lets find something we can trade with him" Then we would help ds find a toy. Sometimes ds would get distracted by the new toy and decide not to trade. Sometimes the other kid didn't like the idea of trading, but mostly they did. If the other kid did not want to trade, we could find another item to trade, or tell the other kid ds would like a turn when he was done and then help ds wait for his turn. This usually worked wonderfully and both dc have quickly picked up on the idea of trading and waiting for their turn.

We also do a lot of sharing ourselves as parents and don't label things in our home as "mommy's" or "daddy's" or "S's" or "E's". Everything is "ours" somethings are dangerous for babies and need mommy or daddy's help. The toys are everybodies and don't belong to either child. Christmas is the same even. The toys are for both boys.. not one or the other... although of course some toys are more appropriate for a toddler than a preschooler or vice versa.
post #19 of 49

But I do share!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post


To be honest, I don't understand why this concept of "sharing" is so important. As an adult, I've never been in a situation where I needed (or even wanted) to share - not my clothes, not my kitchen stuff, not my bike, not my car (when I had one), etc. I give to charity, and I "share" things like books, recipes, etc., with my partner and family (if that counts). But, otherwise, I don't do it.

Well I live in a house with 6 adults and ds. I share my kitchen with them, sometimes they have guests either for a couple of hours or overnight, I share my home with them. I share my TV it is the one in the common space. If a friend needs to use my car and I do not need to use it I share it. If I have a bagel and my bff is hungry she can have a bite. If your bike has a flat, then you can ride mine if I'm not using it.

Oh your computer runs Linux and you need to do an annoying Microsoft thing, yes you may use my computer when I am done my post to MDC

I live communally because I value sharing and I do not want "ownership" of items to be of paramount importance

all that being said, I try not to *force* ds to share and currently we focus more on"taking turns"
post #20 of 49
I had a lightbulb moment when I really thought about adult sharing - all of your above examples are great ways to model actual sharing/turn-taking. But, I'd be pretty ticked if I were reading a book, playing with my ipod or video game, and dh/friend/whoever, came over and took what I was using while saying "share".

That is the most common version of "sharing" that I see with toddlers/preschoolers. I did it to my dd at playgroups when someone else want her toy. What most moms really want is to teach taking turns, but we use the word share inappropriately in those situations.

Developmentally, sharing (as in the great examples in pp), can't be understood until at least 4 or 5. That said, last night my 26mo walked around with the container of grapes and offered them to everyone (we had company) in the room - no prompting, though we did say thanks for sharing - it was amazing.

I have a friend who admitted that her 4yo thinks share basically means "you have it and I want it, so give it to me" b/c when playing with others, the older kid often has his/her toy taken away by mom who says "share", and gives it to the younger kid who was upset b/c he/she wanted that toy right then; kinda eye-opening for me to view the situation from that perspective.

I think examples/modelling of true sharing (as in pp) are wonderful. For use of toys, items, etc., we are tyring to go with the taking turns approach: "so-and-so would like to play with that toy when you are finished".

At dd 2nd b-day, one of her friends (about 2mos younger) came over and took a toy out of my daughter's hand. The father came over and gave tohe toy back to my daughter; his girl of course started crying. I just sat back and watched; my dd stood and watched curiously while the dad tried to explain about not snatching toys (a strategy I use too), but his daughter of course just got more upset. My daughter stepped toward her and handed her the toy.

It was then that I understood that they may not intellectually understand the concepts of sharing and trun taking, but left to their own devices, kids are amazingly considerate (most of the time ).
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