5 Creative activities that promote sharing:

1. Co-operative art: Your toddler and his friend get paper plates to decorate. They can make a face with the materials provided. Place decorative craft materials such as feathers, pom poms, and yarn on several small plates for the children to share. To encourage children to pass items to each other, you can place the pom poms closer to one child and the yarn closer to the other. Glue, crayons, and markers can be placed in between the children. Providing only one of a particular material such as one glue bottle, or a limited amount of scissors also creates a situation where children need to wait to use the item. It also provides an opportunity for the children to ask each other for the item when another child is using it.

2. Cooking: This fun activity promotes cleaning up and sharing. Make your toddler and their friend have specific jobs. For example, they’re making pizza. Both are chefs with particular roles. If you are making a pizza your toddler can spread the sauce, the friend can add the cheese and both can add the vegetable toppings. Then they clean up after placing it in the oven.

3. Gardening: Children love being messy. Give your toddler plastic pots, seeds, shovels. Make one child dig a hole and the other puts the seeds. Together they discover that they’ve sprouted the beans.

4. Sandbox: Playing the sandbox provides a great deal of opportunity for sharing and cooperating. Encourage your child to play in the sandbox and share the pails, shovels, balls, and toy cars while they build castles, roads, or whatever they dream up together!

5. Box of Toys: This works great because children get to play with Lego, play dough, cars, crayons, instruments. Each child gets a box labeled with their name on it. Put all the toys to be shared on the table and allow the children to take turns adding toys to their box. Each child plays with the toys in his/her box. If they want to, they can trade toys with each other.

1. Should we include punishments or not?

Punishing a child at such an age can have adverse effects on him/her. If your child doesn’t share you must let your disappointment be known. Gradually your child will learn it from his/her peers. When the toddler doesn’t share, their friends will let him know in no uncertain terms how unhappy they are. And they’ll learn that sometimes it takes hard work to be a good friend!

2. Varied experiences of parents of different kids:

There are many parents who have grave concerns about their children not sharing. On our parent community forum, these concerns were given a voice.

1. Parent of child, Aarav, 20 months old and has been all around kids everyday. Yet I can’t seem to find a way to share his toys. He piles his toys up in front of him and practically lies on them when another child comes in the room.

2. A mother of 2 boys, Varnika shares: I have two boys. One would share his toys but the other older brother would not. I told him that it was fine if he didn’t want to share but not to expect his brother to share his toys with him. When the time came that he wanted to play with something his brother had (came later that day) and when the younger one said no, the older one got upset and I explained that if he wanted his brother to share his toys then he had to act the same way to him. It worked like a charm and they shared comfortably after that.

3. Preksha shares on her 3 kids: When they are having friends over I let them take their FAVOURITE 3 toys and put them in my room…leaving the rest as everyone’s toys to play with. My youngest is 16 months and she understands this already. It makes it a lot easier when kids come to play- favorite toys don’t get broken and lost or stolen, and everyone has fun!