Mummy Mondays: Why should we teach our children to share?

In a wild attempt to bring some order to my blog I’m going to start doing some regular themed posts each week. Obviously as a mum and as a baby massage instructor I have a lot of baby & toddler related thoughts everyday and find it therapeutic to write these down – so Monday will be the day you can read all of my mummy related thought streams- if you so wish.

So kicking off my Mummy Mondays I’m talking about sharing, when your baby is old enough to crawl about and walk you encourage them to play with different toys especially when going to a baby group. It helps their development and of course its fun.

Traditional sharing dictates that you encourage your child to give up their toy the moment another child shows interest in it and once you’ve set your child free in a grubby church hall with boxes of hand me down toys covered in dribble, its literally every tot for themselves.

Of course we are all encouraged to teach our children to share (it’s the done thing) but here’s the problem:

One – children don’t fully understand the concept of sharing until they’re five.

Two – if my child’s playing nicely with a toy and your child takes it and ‘wants a turn’ why should my child then get upset and have to find another toy just because ‘it’s nice to share?’

In order to not ‘rock the boat’ I used to let the other child have the toy and distract my little one with something else but one day I thought no, my child is playing nicely and your child basically thinks that stealing is okay – I’m not standing for this anymore! Basically your child can fuck off!

People argue that we have to teach children to share in this way to prepare them for when they’re an adult and why there are parts of this which are true as its important to be considerate and kind to others. At the same time it’s an un-realistic representation of adulthood – if I’m say looking at my phone and a stranger comes over and takes my phone saying ‘I want a turn’ that is not okay.

We live in a world where as adults we do not share all of our belongings and we do not take things off other people because we want a turn. We wait until someone is finished with the thing we want to use. We wait our turn and this is what we should teach our mini ones.

I think it’s important to raise well rounded children but I also think it’s important that they know where their boundaries are, how to say no and how to stand up for themselves.

By encouraging children to give up their toy the moment another child demands it we are teaching them that this how they should act in life and it’s wrong. Their engagement in play is interrupted and they associate sharing with negative feelings.

If we teach children to wait their turn they learn patience and the child playing with the toy will feel good when they happily hand the toy over rather than having it snatched out of their hands.

What are your thoughts on sharing?




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