Questions About Sharing…

I am living it and I am watching it. I think I may have seen every approach out there when it comes to parents’ responses to the sharing crisis.

I have run a classroom, a home of siblings and cousins, and classes with toddlers and their parents. Yup, I have seen it and I am not saying I know what to do for each situation – but I do know how I feel about it.

When is my child old enough to be asked to share a toy or a snack?


There are articles out there that state developmentally it is not until 3 a child knows and should be expected to share but think about the implications if we all just rode that wave. What would our older children think if little Tommy just goes around snatching toys from everyone and Mom or Dad do nothing about it. For me the model of sharing and being a craing friend can start right away. It is important that under the age of three – children really do believe that their toy is gone for ever if someone picks it up to play with. We can sympathize and do my favorite thing for this age group – distraction! Turn their attention to something else and let them know quickly, that will play with that toy again soon.

Try this:

If one child takes a toy from another, give the upset child a toy the other child likes. If she also tries to take away that toy, tell her she must give one of the two toys to the upset child. Explain that sharing is fair. From ehow


Should they give up a toy to someone who wants a turn or do they have the write to say no?

So your 5 year old is playing with a special truck and and your 7 year old wanders over and wants to play with it NOW. What to do? My answer is a little of both. I have given my children these words to use. “Yes, you can have a turn when I am done in 5,10,15 (15 minutes max). Everyone is happy – the toy wasn’t snatched and the person using the toy was in control of when the turn is over.

Try this:

When your child wants to borrow a toy from a friend, ask her to lend one as well. By refusing to let your child borrow a toy if she refuses to lend one, you help her understand the notion of exchange. Furthermore, make sure the loan is respected by asking your child to give the toy back on time and to her friend to bring hers back to her on time as well. from 

Is everything in your house (considering its safety) for the whole family to share or does each child have their own things off limits to others?

My children have separate rooms – in their rooms are “their” toys. We have rule at our house to ask permission to use something first. We also have an expectation to say yes if they are not using it at the time. If the answer is a strong no – we say so all can hear,”Right now Noah is choosing to keep his toy. He is a very good sharer though maybe he will change his mind later.”

Try this:

You can develop a strategy. Before your children engage in play time (in the early morning, when they’ve just begun, for example) ask your son which toys your daughter can play with today. Have him physically pick some out and hand them to you. They will be her toys for the day. He has to stick by his choices, even if he changes his mind. If your son finds it difficult to give up a toy for a whole day, you can have him choose toys for the morning and again in the afternoon. It’s just important for him to know in advance which toys his sister will use and he also needs to participate in the decision. From ivillage

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