How can I teach my toddler to share? Behavior & Discipline

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Boy playing blocks with other children.
iStock/fatihhoca
Sharing is a tough skill for toddlers to learn, but we all know that playing nice is a part of life. If you're having a tough time teaching your toddler to share, try some of these tips.

Keep at It

"Sharing is not natural for toddlers and will not be natural for several more years. Just keep trying. Often, having several of the same toy is helpful for siblings or playgroups." -- Elena Mikalsen, PhD, Mikalsen Psychological Services, San Antonio, TX

Be Positive

"Toddlerhood is when they are just beginning to understand what sharing is and how to behave. Positive parenting is extremely helpful for my kids. Show him how he should behave and teach him how to share. Don't keep him away from the other kids, because then he'll never learn. It gets better with age. I promise!"

Designate Special Toys

"If he's having a friend over, we allow my son to go through his toys beforehand, and he can put away toys that he doesn't want to share. That way if there's something special he doesn't want broken, it's not even in the picture."

Remove the Offending Toy

"I usually take the toy that's causing an issue out of the equation for the remainder of the day. It usually only takes one toy for her to get the memo!"

Use the Word 'Share' Often

"I offer to share things with my daughter and use that word so she knows that's what I'm doing. When I see her sharing, I use the word again and give her a lot of praise, so she knows it's a good thing to do."

Don't Call It Sharing

"I've found that using the term 'take turns' instead of 'share' is more effective. If a kid knows that he will eventually get a turn playing with a toy, he's more willing to share it."

Don't Force It

"Every child has the right to stand in a corner with his own things and not play with anyone. After enough times of sitting by himself while everyone else has a good time, a child will usually decide to share on his own."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.