How many times did you see parents who were stressed out, embarrassed or outright annoyed at their kids for refusing to share toys with other kids?

For us it’s considered common decency to offer an object to another person, if that person wants it, especially when we know that we will get it back in a little while. But that doesn’t apply to small children. At the age of two or three, a child’s perception of time isn’t completely developed, and he doesn’t understand that he will soon receive the toy back. In his mind, he has to give up his toy, maybe his favourite one, forever.

This is why small kids don’t understand the concept of sharing, of offering something to another person. And us, the adults, parents, teachers, babysitters, tend to abuse this concept. We say “share with others”, but in reality what we mean is “give another child all your things”. And in the long run this doesn’t bring any good.

What can we do in this situation? “The best thing to do is to let them sort it out among themselves, while the adults make sure they don’t hurt one another”, Janet Lansbury, author of “Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting” suggests.

Stop Nail Biting! How to get your kid to stop biting his nails

How To Prevent Kids from Splayfoot With 10 Fun & Easy Exercises

At What Age Do Kids Start Understanding The Meaning Of “NO” And When To Start Worrying

According to her, “when we intervene without having to, by insisting that the child share something with others, we take away an opportunity to learn something socially. And when we insist that he share his things before he fully understands what this means, we risk turning the word “share” into a bad word”.

“The child starts offering his things to other children and he starts sharing when he starts feeling empathy toward others. And empathy is shaped through the parent’s patience and trust in the child”, Janet Lansbury adds.

How do you react when your kid won’t share his toys with other children?