I don't know about your little ones, but mine didn't exactly come out of the womb wanting to share their toys. Here are some thoughts on the matter. ----------------
I want it!
Give it back!
Sound familiar? If you have small children, it does.
And, while on the one hand kids love to share and give—they light up when they give a present, for example—self-sacrifice doesn’t come quite so easily.
If you think about it, sharing is actually a pretty complicated social situation. It requires quite sophisticated thinking and emotional intelligence. It demands that we think ahead, consider another person’s desires, balance our emotions and control our impulses. Most adults sometimes struggle with these skills!
Sharing is an awful lot to ask of a little one, particularly when we intrude upon what she’s doing in a given moment. When young children have a hard time taking turns or sharing, it's often because they have difficulty handling their big feelings. They don't yet have the skills to say, "I'm sorry, but I’d rather play with these blocks by myself right now.” So instead, they handle the situation their own way. They throw a fit. They grab. They hit. They cry.
Sharing isn’t usually fun. And it’s not easy to do. But as you know, it’s one of the skills children need to learn. So how do we help them develop the ability to share and take turns?