How can I teach my toddler to share?

Real Mom Problem

“I'm afraid to let my 2 1/12 year old play with other young kids. He yells, takes toys away, and shoves. I discipline but he keeps acting up. Any suggestions?”

by angelbaby8486 angelbaby8486

Quick Tips

  • 1. Lead by example: Share with your toddler and with other adults
  • 2. Praise your toddler anytime you see them sharing
  • 3. Explain how not sharing makes other children feel sad
  • 4. Distract them with another toy or redirect them to an alternate activity

Real Mom Solutions

Sharing is a tough one for toddlers to get, but we all know that playing nice is a part of life, so it's best to learn to share early! If you're having a tough time teaching your toddler to share, try these tips from the moms of CafeMom.

Be Consistent -- It Will Get Better!

  • Emberbaby

    Stay consistent on his time outs and discipline and he will be out of that phase before you know it.

  • Kittlesdesigns

    It's definitely the age! This is when they are just beginning to understand what sharing is and how to behave. Positive parenting is extremely helpful. 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!

Try These Sharing Strategies

  • corrinacs

    If he's having a friend over we allow him to go through his toys 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

  • AnGLInterrupted

    I usually take the offending toy out of the equation. I'll put the toy in time-out for the remainder of the day. It usually only takes one toy for her to get the memo!

  • corrinacs

    If there is a popular toy on the playground and my son has it first, I at least let him have a few minutes with it! If it's something that two people can play with at the same time, I ask him to see if the other child would like to play. Otherwise, I give my son a few minutes to play with the toy, and then I "distract" him with another one.

Lead by Example

  • RebeccaAxeRosa

    I will offer to share things with my daughter and I will be sure to use that word so that she knows that that is what I am doing. I will also offer to share with other family members so that she sees that adults share with other adults, not just with kids. When I see her sharing, I will again use that word so that she knows that is what she is doing. I will give her a lot of praise too, so that she knows that this is a good thing to do.

  • Wishing2BMommy

    From day one I used to ask my son "Can I have it please?" "Thank You!" and then I'd give it back. He has no problem and will share with anyone. If a kid takes something from him he just shrugs it off and finds something else.

Adjust Your Language

  • dreamybabies

    Toddlers don't quite understand the concept of "share" and my daycare provider told me that it's better to teach them to "take turns". 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 a Toddler to Share

  • MariAnKenobi

    Every child has the right to stand in a corner with his own things and not play with anybody. A child who is always forced to give up his rights will soon learn he doesn't really have any and become bitter about it. I never force a child to share his personal belongings with others. They may ask, and he may refuse. After enough times of sitting by himself while everyone else has a good time, a child will usually decide to share on his own.

  • MommaSiete

    Different situations call for different responses. Sometimes yes, I take something away to give back to the rightful child. Sometimes I take it away from all of them and don't allow them to have it until they come to some agreement. Sometimes I let them duke it out as long as it doesn't get bad.