Sheesh! Good thing no one ever said parenting was easy, because it sure isn't. One thing I thought would be fairly simple and easy to teach my kids was how to share and what it meant to share with others.
The aspect I didn't bank on was the fact that my little ones would figure how to use sharing to their advantage, in order to not have to share....confusing I know, but they pretty nicely came up with their own sort of reverse sharing psychology.
How does their "reverse sharing" scheme work?
Well from a young age when your little ones are seeming greedy with their toys or grabby when a friend is playing with something that belongs to them or that they want to use, you gently remind them that it's nice to share. When someone else, either a sibling or friend asks to use something they have, again we encourage them to share.
The reverse effect this had on my kids is that they realized that if they ask someone to share then it was an automatic way to get what they want because the other child MUST share. So, as long as you keep yourself on the "asking end" of the equation you should always get what you want.
Well as a mother I started to really dislike this whole sharing thing. If one is playing nicely and someone suddenly wants them to share should they have to just give up what they're playing with or their turn immediately?
It was then that I had to become the sharing moderator. Now you have to examine, is the child asking for their turn or toy because they genuinely need it or want it? Or are they just asking because they want to put an end to the fun someone else is having?
Ultimately yes, I love sharing, when it happens spontaneously and under the right circumstances, but often I have seen forced sharing that I often didn't agree with.
In our house, perhaps because I have identical twin sons and a daughter who is just 3 & 1/2 years old then they are, sharing took on new meanings and ended up being a much more complicated to teach than I'd first expected. As they've gotten older, they've started to really get the hang of what it means to share and there's a lot less scheming than when they were younger.
So how about you? How do your little ones handle sharing and did you ever encounter the "reverse sharing" that I refer to above?
Becky Date 6/3/2013
Our rule is that the family room is the share zone. If one child brings a toy in there to play, they have to be prepared to share. I'm not going to referee. If they don't want to share, they can play with that toy in their bedrooms.
Lana Date 6/3/2013
My son is 3.5 and just takes things from his sister (22 months old) now and proclaims that they're "sharing". I've given up trying to explain sharing. Now he has to ask her if he can play with something or he has to offer her something else to play with. He does pretty good at offering her things that she likes just as much as what she's playing with. Toy laptop for toy truck instead of one block for the iPad. ;)
I think sharing is a weird concept. Playing together works in our house, but eve
Nikki Date 6/3/2013
Sharing isn't too difficult in this house. Only thing they ask to share is ipad/iphone time. But my 5 and 3 yr olds know if they can't alternate turns, no one gets it. However, my 3 yr old is sneaky. Come dessert time, he reminds us the rules about sharing our desserts with him.
Marcella Date 6/3/2013
Chelsea Hardin Date 6/3/2013
Great post! I will have to remember this one when my baby boy gets older.
mom to 4 Date 6/3/2013
We don't do the sharing thing much. Each kid had their toys if the other one wants to play with it then they have to ask the other. If the owner of the toy says no, then that's the end off l it. Only toys I make my kids share is community toys like set school, church etc... I think the child should feel like thy have ownership over their toys and with that ownership comes the responsibility of caring for it. After all I'm not going to go let someone drive my car because they asked me nicely to "
Alli Date 6/3/2013
We do the same- it is not fair that because another child shows interest in what my child has, they automatically get it. I also refuse the idea of playing by yourself, they will soon be in a classroom and need to have sharing somewhat figured out before then. I want my kids to spend time with us as a family, toys stay in the common areas. "Special" toys are stored for times when everyone gets to play with their special toys that are age appropriate and do not HAVE to be shared. I still enco
megan Date 6/3/2013
We struggled with this too! We have tried to teach our son that when you ask for something you might not get it. In essence we taught him the word 'might'. When it came to sharing this was huge for him bc kids often say no when asked to share. It has also helped on days we might not get a turn on the swings before leaving the park, or might see if there are any cookies left. We also practice 1-2 minute rule when sharing those high demand toys. And giving and asking nicely. Its a lot to tackle bu
Kim Hendricks Date 6/7/2013
Great article! We don't have a lot of experience with this yet since our oldest is 16 months & #2 won't be here till this fall. Our biggest hurdle is trying to teach him not to share every bit of his food with the dog!
Rachel N Date 6/7/2013
We have some toys that are always to be shared (ipad, slide/climber, train set) but for most other toys we have the rule that whoever was playing with it gets to keep playing with it until they are done with it. Another child can ask if they can have a turn but the first child does not have to say yes. I think it is a more fair system.
Sarah Hayes Date 6/11/2013
My daughter is pretty good about sharing when she wants to be lol. Usually if she has something that i want I can just ask for it and she'll give it to me. and then I thank her for sharing..so hopefully that will pay off one day!