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.

Do you find yourself constantly trying to settle a never-ending negotiation that always starts with the question, "Who was playing with the toy, first?" 

and giving the standard responses - 

"It's only fair to give someone else a turn."
"You can have it for another five minutes."
"I'm setting the timer, and then it's her turn."

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 call for us to judge, direct, or intervene. Maturity doesn't happen just because we force it, and forcing kids to share can actually backfire.

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.

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 video, I'm sharing 5 tips for what to do when kids won't share.

Play is important to children. 

It enhances and strengthens their capacity to understand the world and form connections with others. They get to try on different social roles and learn about cause and effect. 

We shouldn't let children hurt others, but it's important to allow them to make their own choices - even if those choices seem unfair to us.

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

Share your thoughts in the comments. And remember, it's about being conscious - not perfect!

Talk soon,



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