Toddlers are not developmentally ready to ‘share’. The ability to share of course varies from child to child. Some children are, from the start, more easy-going about their belongings and others are more attached to their toys.

Development of sharing:

  1. First they need to be able to share the attention of their caregiver. They need to learn that the adult is not there for them alone and must learn to tolerate their caregiver paying attention to someone else.
  2. Then they need to learn to share a common routine and follow an agenda dictated by a ‘teacher’. This commonly happens in a more structured playgroup environment after the age of 18 months.
  3. Only then will they begin to be ready to share equipment and finally toys with others.

Apart from gradually working on the first two points listed above, you can also do the following:

  • Since sharing is so difficult, it is more appropriate to begin to work on turn-taking at this stage. Turn-taking is a sort of temporary sharing. With an adult’s help children can learn to turn-take and will realise that the toy or piece of equipment they have given up is not permanently gone but that they can have their turn after you count to 10.
  • Model sharing by always sharing with them. Use the word ‘share’ repeatedly when you are doing so.
  • Use ‘one for you, one for me’
  • Praise them for ‘good sharing’