Why I Don’t Make my Child Share….


Many times our experiences can change our minds about things. Of course, it is important to share and yes, I teach my son to share. However, I don’t make him give up what he is doing to share.

I had an epiphany one Friday morning after toddler story time at our local library. Although it is a struggle to make it on a consistent basis. I like the time my little social butterfly gets to spend in a group of people. He loves selecting new books to read, making new friends and getting attention from the other moms.


Once story time is over, the play area quickly gets filled up with toddlers. And we all know what happens in a small space filled with lots of toddlers… children get knocked over, there are meltdowns, power struggles, spilled toys spread all over the floor and multiple toddlers with their eye on the same toy, etc.

It was that last scenario when I became “enlightened.” My son walked up to the steering wheel mounted on the wall and began to drive. There was only one small problem, a little girl was already driving and my little sweet boy just kind of moved her aside and began to take over. She looked at her mom with a look of distress and her mom replied, “share.” It was the kind of sharing that required the little girl to give up what she was playing with.


At that moment I decided that my son would no longer continue to play with the steering wheel, and the little girl was happy that she no longer had to move away. By removing my son I was able to teach him that he can wait to have a turn when she was finished.

We moved right over to the wall of magnetic letters and shapes. Of course, the toy that happened to catch my child’s eye, was in the hands of another little boy. As my son tried to pry the toy from the other child’s death grip, his mom quickly blurted out the “S” word, “share.”

Once again I explained that we can wait for a turn.


Suddenly, it was like we were in the twilight zone. I simultaneously heard the word “share, share, share,” coming from multiple areas.

On the drive home I began to ponder sharing… I don’t want my child’s exploration halted because I made him give up his toy all in the name of sharing.

I came up with 3 common scenarios when I will and will not make my son share.

1. My son is in possession of multiple toys and he is not actively using everyone. No need to be greedy, he will have to share. But, I will let him choose what he wants to share.

2. My child has one toy in his hand that he is exploring and actively playing with, when another child comes over to take that toy. No sharing required. Once my child can communicate more, I want him to set boundaries with other children and learn to stand up for himself.

3. My son walks up to a playing child and tries to take a toy out of their hand. He will learn patience by waiting his turn and eventually he will learn to communicate that he would like a turn.

I realized its OK not to make my child share. And I’m confident he will grow to be a kind and generous boy.


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