We have a nanny-sharing agreement with friends - our daughter is 26 months, their 15 months. Recently we started having issues with our daughter not want to share toys with the younger one - and hence my question: what is the best way to teach a toddler to share toys? And in which situations you would encourage to share toys? Consider the following scenarios:

(A) One child finds the toy, starts playing and the other wants the same one. Should you encourage sharing? (B) One child plays with a toy and the other one is doing something else. Should you encourage the child to share the toy with the other one? (C) Some personal things (e.g. clothes) of one child are on the sofa and the other child starts playing with them. In this situation my daughter becomes furious and tries to get the things back using force. How should this situation be handled?

asked 16 Jun '11, 07:37

Gandrusz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

I have a 2 1/2 year old, a 1 year old and a newborn. Between the two oldest my biggest rule for sharing is no taking toys, clothes, etc from the other child's hands. No matter if it is yours or hers if it is in her hands then you cannot take it. I encourage them to find something that the other one might want and trade for what they want. If the other child does not trade you can either try to find something else or wait. This works really well for my 2 1/2 year old (the 1 year old doesn't understand yet). The rule is simple, easy to understand and can usually be applied to most circumstances.

If they both want a toy at the same time I try to encourage sharing but that usually requires complete supervision and direction since both have a hard time with this. I also keep in mind what it is that I am trying to have them share. For example a bucket of blocks can always be shared no matter if one was there first but a doll is a one person activity.

There are a few toys in our house that are just one girls. They need to treat each others toys respectfully. For the oldest I do ask her to put things away if she does not want her sister to get them. If something is left out it's ok for either to play with it. Special or personal items are put away unless needed or one child can play with them without the other child interfering. I treat these item the same as I would items that are dangerous for the younger. If I leave something out and I know it's something that would cause a fight I will take responsibility and take it away gently, asking the offended child to back off and let me deal with it. These items then go out of reach of both children. I also take items that they are fighting over away (after giving them a chance to work it out themselves). I say the toy gets a timeout since it caused the fighting.


answered 16 Jun '11, 12:32

nikjoyce's gravatar image

accept rate: 11%

I love the idea that the toys get timeout!

(16 Jun '11, 14:10) Gandrusz

In my experience, two year olds don't do sharing very well so need to be shown how. Some of the things that have worked in our house with sharing are:

  • a timer. One child gets to play for 3 mins and then the other child gets the toy.
  • With something like blocks or train track. Divide them into two lots so they can each play.
  • really precious things or things that cause issues are put away when we have visitors.
  • Modelling sharing to them, and talk with them as you share.
  • Playing games with them where they take turns.
  • I have also taken toys away when they are not prepared to share.

I don't expect them to share things like their teddy bear that they formed an attachment with.


answered 17 Jun '11, 15:46

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

edited 21 Jun '11, 10:13

Tammy's gravatar image

Tammy ♦♦

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Asked: 16 Jun '11, 07:37

Seen: 3,215 times

Last updated: 21 Jun '11, 10:13