At what age is "normal" for them to share? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is 2 going on 3 in December. Usually if we get together with other people we let him play off to the side with cars or a train set. We don't really get him to try and interact with other children because he doesn't know how to share and it turns into a big battle. He yells no and will hit. Of course we help him use his words and explain why we don't hit. He doesn't get it. Should he at this age? He is not very verbal yet so that may have something to do with it. At what age is it appropriate to expect him to be able to share?
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#2 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 07:34 PM
 
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Sharing is a big concept. And even once they understand it they can be reluctant to do it.

I started with taking turns first. That seems to be easier to understand. So for going down the slide taking turns is good.

For toys we worked on making trades. But it does require supervision and understanding that sometimes they just don't understand why they have to share their toys at all.

My almost 3 year old understands. She will take turns pretty easily and wait. She had more difficulty with sharing..for example a toy that has a lot of pieces..she wants them all. If she's well fed, not tired then I can usually get her to give a friend some of the toys but it requires some negotiation. And sometimes she just doesn't want to and refuses.

I like the desire to be genuine and I'm very happy when my children share without my prompting. My 5 year old is very generous now. It makes me proud
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#3 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 07:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just finishing up with gentle parenting and it is wonderful. By far, the most amazing parenting book I have ever read!
Do I keep him off to the side playing on his own or do I try to get him with other kids to help him learn this? Is he too young to learn this? Usually we will set up something off to the side because it is easier and I really can't see him giving another child a piece of his train. Should we be helping him do this now or wait until he is a bit older?
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#4 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 07:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by homeschoolingmama View Post
I am just finishing up with gentle parenting and it is wonderful. By far, the most amazing parenting book I have ever read!
Do I keep him off to the side playing on his own or do I try to get him with other kids to help him learn this? Is he too young to learn this? Usually we will set up something off to the side because it is easier and I really can't see him giving another child a piece of his train. Should we be helping him do this now or wait until he is a bit older?

On days when I am low on patience I would do the playing to the side. On days when I'm feeling particularly brave and patient I might try to see where he's at.

It's never to early to start talking about it and it's never to early to model sharing behaviour in front of him. My now 5 year old got a bike for her 3rd birthday. Before her party we told her that people would want to take a turn on her bike and if she didn't feel comfortable with that we could put it away. She said she was fine and she rode it around all morning before her party. Then at the party she let every kid have a turn before she had a turn. But we had talked about taking turns, we had talked about sharing a lot up to that point and how it made others feel etc.

I was very proud that day.
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#5 of 18 Old 09-08-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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My dd will b 3 in November and is just finally making some prgress in this area. One suggestion I have is that, if you want him to share/play together then try to choose the toys that you bring carefully. There are some one man toys that dd will not share. Period. However, she LOVES to play grocery store, which really requires two people to be much fun-- the last time we had a friend over, I saw that dd might have been about to horde her cash register and so I suggested that she run the cash register and her friend use the little cart to buy groceries-- it was a HIT and they both ended up taking turns with each role in the game. It seriously rocked- I was so happy and finally feel like I'm ready ot have folks over again instead of just meeting at the park or other "no toys" turfs. Good luck- it'll come!
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#6 of 18 Old 09-10-2008, 11:09 PM
 
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according to parenting your toddler, by the barnard folks, it is not developmentally appropriate to expect toddlers to share or even to talk turns.
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#7 of 18 Old 09-10-2008, 11:23 PM
 
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according to parenting your toddler, by the barnard folks, it is not developmentally appropriate to expect toddlers to share or even to talk turns.
Yes. And I agree. Mine will often cooperate but if they don't I know it's completely normal behaviour and I don't sweat it.

But you can start modelling and showing them, mine have learned it surprisingly early and well.
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#8 of 18 Old 09-10-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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it is not developmentally appropriate to expect toddlers to share or even to talk turns.
But their older siblings are not concerned age development...they want a turn, too.
My 3 year old can be pretty good but sometimes we set the timer and he really responds to that. If I say..you need to give Johanna a turn he will say, "5 minutes set timer"
And when the timer buzzes he gives the toy back.

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#9 of 18 Old 09-11-2008, 12:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by homeschoolingmama View Post
My son is 2 going on 3 in December. Usually if we get together with other people we let him play off to the side with cars or a train set.
In addition to the great advice given, I would remind you that your son is still 2 1/2. If you start thinking of him as "almost 3" you'll be expecting more out of him that might be developmentally appropriate.

Some of this depends on temperament too. Our ds has never really had much trouble sharing (except sometimes with his sister!), but our dd is much more possessive and controlling of her toys. She's 4, and while she's willing to let other kids play with her toys, she also wants to tell them exactly how to use them!

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#10 of 18 Old 09-11-2008, 12:57 AM
 
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FWIW my mother is a preschool teacher. SHe teaches out of our home has been for alomst 30 years and yes preschool not daycare... so while not the same as a home enviroment it is a decent glimpse into developmental mile stones of the 2.5-5 year old.. I can say sharing happens around the 4-5 year old age.. At two its still very much the "me" stage 6 of each toy preferably in the same color shape ect are often needed to keep peace. (6 kids per class) and big feeling can occur if said toy is latter picked up by another child... Closer to 3 older 2.5s parrell play comes into the picture like they can "share" a bucket of blocks but will each do there own things with there half and they still for the most part seem unaware of the other child.. but around 4-5 a change happens they begain to see hey So and SO is great at stacking I'm great at lining up if we work together we can do great things.. They also begain to understand rules its not unussual to invent game rules around this age. (who ever goes first wins ect) things such as turn taking ect come into play... Sharing isa huge thing and takes many stages it requires an understanding and maturity on both parties its a concept that most adults fail at yet one many parents expect of there kids at a very young age. At three I'd work at turn taking with the whole family.. play simple games like tossing a ball between you dad and child or you and silings saying okay now its A turn trow it to B okay Bs turn throw it to daddy ect... Using things like a timer can also be great many kids like tangiable boundries such as these mine is this way.

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#11 of 18 Old 09-11-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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We also use the timer for sharing toys. It works fairly well with all of my children and the others that I watch.

When we're out somewhere where there are enough toys for everyone: If one of my kids (or another child) wants a toy but something else is available, I'm not going to make the kid who's using something give it up.

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#12 of 18 Old 09-11-2008, 05:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by allgirls View Post
It's never to early to start talking about it and it's never to early to model sharing behaviour in front of him. My now 5 year old got a bike for her 3rd birthday. Before her party we told her that people would want to take a turn on her bike and if she didn't feel comfortable with that we could put it away. She said she was fine and she rode it around all morning before her party. Then at the party she let every kid have a turn before she had a turn. But we had talked about taking turns, we had talked about sharing a lot up to that point and how it made others feel etc.
I wish I could warn ds about sharing, but it seems to make it worse. If he knows its coming he won't want to share ANY of his toys, but if kids come over and I don't make a big deal about them using his stuff, he doesn't seem to care as much. But then there is that ONE thing that he absolutly won't share (I never know in advance what it is) and as soon as another child gets ahold of it, there are huge tears. That item usually gets put away and everything gets back to normal.

I find it pretty easy for ds to take turns and share if its with his regular buddies. If its kids we don't know it's definatly different.

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#13 of 18 Old 09-11-2008, 06:08 PM
 
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Here are my thoughts on sharing a year ago, when my son was exactly the age yours is now...but different personalities make for different learning curves. Also, my son is in childcare, so he has daily practice getting along with other kids.

Playing WITH other kids is a later skill than just letting others use some of the toys in parallel play. My son has been developing that over the past year, and while he's sometimes very successful, he doesn't seem entirely clear on the concept that other people are fully independent beings and won't necessarily agree with his ideas about how to play! When I play with him myself, sometimes I get really frustrated by being ordered around and told that every move I make is "wrong", and I go ahead and show my feelings (not by hitting, of course, but with words and grumpy posture)--I figure it's not doing him any favors if I indulge all his whims and pretend I don't mind!

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Do I keep him off to the side playing on his own or do I try to get him with other kids to help him learn this?
How about you let him decide? Bring some of his toys and put them near you, but let him do what he wants unless he is hurting someone. He'll learn much more that way than if you overthink it.

I think it's fine to have toys that he prefers to keep to himself. When you go somewhere else, ALL of the few toys you bring could be in that category, if that's how he feels. When other kids come to your house, some toys need to be shared, but whatever your son is feeling especially possessive about that day can be kept to himself or put away if it's causing a problem. This is very realistic: As adults, we share many of our things with guests, but we all have some things we would rather not share, and we are allowed that privelege. We just have to be reasonable and polite about it.

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#14 of 18 Old 09-12-2008, 08:09 PM
 
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This thread is reassuring. My two year old doesn't share easily most of the time. One of my really good friends and I were just talking about how much better the boys (her son is 2 too) get along for longer periods of time when they are outside in the park area right by our homes. It's noones turf and there are no toys to defend/fight over.

Still we model it... and they are getting better together. We'll see glimpses of stuff we've said and done come up when they are playing now and then which is awesome and so rewarding :

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#15 of 18 Old 09-12-2008, 08:53 PM
 
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I would not expect a first child at that age to be able to share (though some could). My son is exactly the same age as yours and is juuuuust now getting it. It's still taking turns, though, not "here take this toy for an undetermined period of time and I'll be cool with it."

When I take my kids to public spaces I don't necessarily expect 3 year olds to easily share, but I pretty much expect 4 year olds to.
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#16 of 18 Old 09-13-2008, 02:10 PM
 
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At this age (mine is 25 months), I expect turn taking and consideration of who is playing with something, but not "sharing" if you mean both playing with something at the same time.

My LO has been pretty good at this since about 18 months, but I notice it's VERY dependent upon me watching carefully and standing up for him if someone tries to take a toy away from him. I never say, "Share!" if someone is trying to take something from him. Instead, I say, "Malachy is playing with that right now. When he is done, you may have a turn. Would you like to play with this thing here?"

I also encourage him to give the toy to that child to play, after a minute or two. If he has several toys (say, five trains), I will say, "Look, that little boy doesn't have any choo choos. Can you give him a choo choo to play with?" and he usually happily does.

By focusing on defending his right to play with toys when it's his turn, encouraging him to share when appropriate (he has extras and another child has none), and teaching him about taking turns, he has been very good about playing with other children. I notice HUGE regressions in sharing if I am not careful to assert his "turn" with a toy when another child tries to take it, though.

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#17 of 18 Old 09-13-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by allgirls View Post
I started with taking turns first. That seems to be easier to understand.
This is where we started too.



As someone explained it to me once:
As adults we don't really like to share either. Imagine getting a new car or a brand new coat and a friend comes along and says, "wow, that's cool. Can I share it with you?" A matchbox car (or whatever) feels like the same "big" thing to a little one.

It all just takes time to learn and to adjust too.

Kim , mom to Amanda (16):, William (13), and Annie (5)
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#18 of 18 Old 09-13-2008, 02:36 PM
 
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As adults we don't really like to share either. Imagine getting a new car or a brand new coat and a friend comes along and says, "wow, that's cool. Can I share it with you?" A matchbox car (or whatever) feels like the same "big" thing to a little one.
Just what I was about to say. There was an awesome New Yorker short piece about this recently... let me see if I can find it... it was meant to be funny, but it's so true.

ETA: Here it is:
(here's just a short clip relevant to the topic at hand).

If adults were subjected to the same indignities as children . . .
GARAGE

Lou Rosenblatt: Can I drive your car? I’ll give it back when I’m done.

Mrs. Herson: I’m sorry, do I know you?

Lou Rosenblatt: No, but we’re the same age and we use the same garage.

Mrs. Herson: No offense, sir, but I really don’t feel comfortable lending you my car. I mean, it’s by far my most important possession.

Brian Herson: Mom, I’m surprised at you! What did we learn about sharing?

Mrs. Herson: You’re right . . . I’m sorry. Take my Mercedes.
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