Why Getting Your Toddler to Share Is a Waste of Time

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Taking turns can be difficult at first. Do you remember that beautiful white top you never wanted to share with your sister? Or the lipstick that was too special to part with? Whatsoever your prized possession was, it was difficult giving that stuff to someone else. So is the case with kids.

Our toddler’s playroom might be erupting with toys, however, when a friend comes over, your daughter wants either of the neglected toys her friend reaches for. A struggle happens next, and soon the laughter and fun take over by tantrums, whining, and tears.

For my daughter, sharing is getting others to share their stuff with her. I cannot say completely that she can’t share, she does share (to her favorite people), but when she shares we have to interrupt and stop her in-between.

Earlier, I had been sick worried about this matter, however over the time, I realized I was in the wrong direction.

The idea is not to teach her to share. But to teach her to be content with what she has, to wait her turn, and to realize that even in her little toddler world, whining will not get her what she wants.

Well, toddlers understand much more than we give them credit for at times. Once, before going to grocery shop, I reminded my husband to buy Honeytus (cough syrup),  we went to the mall, we were passing by the aisle and my daughter went to section and pointed us that there it was wherein at first we thought that we’d have to buy it from a medical store.

She seems intuitive to know when she is around a newborn, she takes care of the baby without squishing. But as you put her in another room full of other toddlers with toys, you begin to notice a pattern. She gets angry and upset as soon as a toy is snatched from her hands or because she wants someone else’s toy. However, I have also noticed that she does ask nicely to share the toy with her.

By the age of three, many kids begin to understand sharing and turn-taking. At four, children become equipped with accepting someone else’s standpoint. You can state, ‘How will you feel if your friends took all the toys and didn’t want to give you one?’ However, that has completely no significance to a two-year-old.

Sharing and empathy could be a challenge, especially at first but can be developed over time. Nearly all children need support and practice to build up this skill. Things we can practice at home such as:

  • Playing games with them which involve turn-taking and sharing.
  • We have to make them learn that it is wrong for her to demand to have someone else’s toy. Else, she won’t learn what sharing is, only that throwing a tantrum works.
  • Making them understand about sharing before they have playdates with other children or at preschool.

Let’s agree, at our next playdate, not to force our kids to share, and instead concentrate our energy on more crucial parenting aspects. Sharing will come.

All in good time friends. All in good time.

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Hi there! I'm Niharika and this space is where I share my experiences. I am a movie lover, dreams of traveling the whole world, and finding the beauty in the everyday. So grab yourself a coffee, make yourself comfy, and I hope you enjoy your time here!
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7 thoughts on “Why Getting Your Toddler to Share Is a Waste of Time

  1. What a beautiful way to look at things. Children are smart and you rightly said that they understand everything. We have the habit of telling kids to share all the time but the perspective which you shared all makes sense.

  2. Oh kids are smarter. When Our kids fight over a toy, we just tell them, let’s go as you all are fighting. and suddenly they all start playing together and sharing bcoz no one wants to leaves… win-win

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