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How to Teach a Toddler to Share

Toddlers by nature have a strong sense of ownership when it comes to their special belongings such as toys and playthings. For toddlers, toys are very special possessions and the first things they get to know to be their own as they grow in the home environment. Clinging to toys and not sharing them with others is a common dilemma among parents of young children, especially when more than one toddler is involved. Here are a few useful tips parents can use to teach toddlers to share and compromise in such difficult situations.

How to Teach a Toddler to Share

Withholding is a Normal Behavior

If your toddler does not share his favorite toy car or her doll, it doesn’t mean he or she is a selfish child. Withholding is a normal behavior in toddlers. Sharing is a skill that will develop over time through observation and interaction with adults and children of the same age. Withholding is a normal part of developmental process in young children and a habit that they will outgrow as they become older.

Be a Role Model

As often as you can demonstrate to your toddler that sharing is a positive behavior by being a good role model. If your toddler asks to play with one of your personal belongings (which is very normal for children at this age), make sure you willingly give him the opportunity to play. For instance, if your toddler wants to grab your hair brush or hand mirror, give it to him and let him know that mommy is actually sharing.

Point out Good Sharing Behaviors in Others

Take note of good sharing behaviors when you see someone sharing a toy with your child. For instance while playing with a group of children, if someone shares his toy with your toddler go to your toddler and say something like this “See, Tom is sharing his tow truck with you. You can share your police car with Tom too.”

Talk to Your Child about Sharing

Talk to your toddler and explain to him that sharing is a good thing to do. If you are expecting some friends or families with young children coming over to your house, mention to your child beforehand that you expect him to share his toys with other kids when they are present. Your goal should be to create a positive environment at home that encourages sharing. This way your child will understand what is expected of him and that sharing is a good behavior to follow.

Do Not Force Sharing

Avoid punishment if your child refuses to share. As stated previously, wanting to keep their own toys and not sharing is a normal behavior for toddlers. You can let your child know that you are unhappy that he is not sharing his toys with his friends but never take any punitive actions. Punishment will not only resolve the issue but may also worsen the saturation and cause the child to become more protective of his belongings.



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