Prepare to Share: The 1 Simple Step To Helping Your Toddler Share
Putting the words “toddler” and “sharing” into the same sentence can be a recipe for disaster. Apart from the fact that every parent will have their own ideas about what’s appropriate and what isn’t, each child will approach other children and playtime uniquely. Personally, I have found that there is one thing you can do that will help any child learn about sharing; teach them what we mean by “sharing”.
For The Architect and I that meant getting over the instinct to cry out “Bliss Share!!” whenever she snatched a toy off another kid, or *ahem* pushed said child over, and remembered that she has no idea what the word “share” means. Shouting “share” at her is about as useful at yelling at her “we don’t yell in our family”.
All the “experts” reckon kids can’t learn to share at this age but I figure if she can figure out where the biscuit tin is and how to open it, she can learn to share it with her Mummy!! That said, we’re not trying to “make” her do something she isn’t able to do, rather walk alongside her as she learns how to cope, respond & flourish in these situations.
We had an interesting day recently with this. A few Mums and bubs were coming over with kids Bliss had met before, but likely wouldn’t remember. The conversation went something like this:
I explained to her that some other boys and girls were coming over to play, that it will be lots of fun and they will play with some of her toys. (I did remove the two toys that experience has taught me, she can’t share)
Face clouds over. “Mine.” She says.
Yes, that’s right, today we are going to practice our sharing. That means you can play with a toy and then someone else can play with a toy. You both get to play, and that’s sharing.
Not convinced. “Mine.”
Yes, that’s right – the toys are yours but in our family we like to share; to let other people use our things. Mummy and Daddy shared the car with Uncle Tim on the weekend, and Mummy is going to share some food with the other Mummy’s today.
Softening but not convinced. “Mine.”
You’re a good sharer my darling. And if you get upset you come and find Mummy. Remember we don’t push or hit. If you’re upset you come and find me and I’ll help you.
Of course, if 4 adults I didn’t know walked into my house and started touching my stuff and eating my food and didn’t tell me what they were doing, and if I couldn’t communicate with them to ask them what they were doing, or even find out their names, I’d be pretty darn freaked out myself!
30minutes later the first little girl arrives. Bliss walks over to her and gives her the toy she’s playing with saying “Ta.” She then goes and gets a soft teddy and brings it over to the little girl; “Ta”.
I WAS SO PROUD OF HER!
When I told the The Architect about our day he said “Well done! I wouldn’t have thought of that; I’d just have told her off for not sharing.”
How often have I not taken the time to prepare and done that very same thing?