What To Do When Kids Won't Share

We went through a brief phase of non-stop Barney videos when my daughter was three-and-a-half, and we were driving back home to Los Angeles.

"Sharing is caring!" played on a loop for the entire cross-country trip.

According to the imaginary purple dinosaur, "Sharing is the true measure of friendship."

However, what happens when your kids don't want to share? 

When my daughter was a toddler, I didn't push the issue.

I think adults sometimes place too much emphasis on "sharing" as a measure of "goodness, kindness or friendliness."

From an adult perspective - not sharing can look unkind or cruel but to a young child - it's a simple matter of "what's mine is mine."

This limited perspective does necessarily not require our judgment, direction or intervention. Maturity will develop a different point of view, and forcing kids to share can actually backfire.

I think people naturally want to share with others once they have mastered their own autonomy, but in the world of children, where so much of their daily life is directed by adults, it is not surprising they want don't want any interference in their play.

Play is important to children. 

It serves to enhance and strengthen capacity to investigate and understand the world and form connections with others. They get to try on different social roles and learn about cause and effect, but it's not always easy when others interrupt your play-making with their demands.

Young children can be guided to graciously wait their turn and share with others, but it doesn't happen through shame or force.

In this TEACHable Moments episode, I'm sharing 5 tips for what to do when kids won't share.

Can you step back and allow your kids to manage their own conflicts around sharing?  

Share your thoughts in the comments! And remember, conscious - not perfect!



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