Teaching Toddlers to Share

Sharing is not easy. It can feel impossible when your toddler goes through the ?mine, mine, mine? stage. Possessions are important to toddlers, they get very attached to thing that are theirs and they have very little concept of something belonging to others.

They also haven?t got enough experience of the world or understanding to see that while sometimes you share something and get it back, for example a toy, and sometimes you don?t get it back, for example a cake. You can, however help your child to learn to share. Here are a few techniques that should help your child to share with others so that they can enjoy playing with other children and you can relax and breathe easy knowing that the play session isn’t likely to quickly descend into a battle.

Turn Taking

Practice taking turns to show your child how to build up patience and get them used to handing things over. Do this by taking turns with a toy for very short periods of time. Build the length of time each turn takes up until you are being given the toy without reluctance and keeping hold of it for 50-10 minutes before giving it back for the child to take their turn. When you are playing other games or doing activities, make a point of talking about taking turns. So if you are colouring in a picture together point out that it is your child’s turn with the blue crayon and your turn with the red. Then swap.

Present Giving

Sometimes it is the idea of sharing something that is theirs that causes the issue with young children. Try getting your child to draw pictures or make simple gifts to give to friends and family. They are unlikely to feel the same possessiveness over these gifts, because they are designed to be given ? that picture they have drawn ?belongs? to Granny, it isn’t theirs and they don?t fight over keeping it. This is a great time to praise how your toddler is ‘so good at sharing and giving presents?. This feeling of pride is something you can later draw on when you are trying to convince your toddler to share with other children.


Make sure your child knows that if they share a toy, they will get it back. Explain how the situation will turn out. So tell them clearly that if they share the doll they will get it back in 10 minutes. Similarly, explain that if they share their sweets they will be being very kind, and such a good friend. Make sure the child sees that sharing is a positive thing and encourage them to share. If you always make sure your child doesn’t have to share, they will never learn how to. Sharing is an important life skill and when it comes to time for school, your child will find sharing activities very difficult. Once they have mastered this important skill, they have it for life.