002: Why doesn’t my toddler share?

Imagine this: you’re with your toddler son or daughter at a playground on a Saturday afternoon so there are a lot of people around.  You’re sitting on a bench while your child plays in the sandpit where several others are playing as well.  You’re half paying attention while you catch up with some texts on your phone.  You hear a scream and when you look up you see a child you don’t know clutching tightly onto the spade your child had been playing with, and your child is about to burst into tears.

Or this: You’re at the playground on a Saturday afternoon and your child is in the sand pit, but when you hear the scream you look up to see your child holding the spade, and a child you don’t know has clearly just had it removed from his possession.

What do you do?

Assuming you want your children to learn how to share things, what’s the best way to encourage that behavior?  What signs can you look for to understand whether they’re developmentally ready?  Does praising a child who proactively shares something encourage her to do it again – or make her less likely to share in the future?  We’ll answer all these questions and more.

References for this episode

Brownell, C., S. Iesue, S. Nichols, and M. Svetlova (2012). Mine or Yours? Development of Sharing in Toddlers in Relation to Ownership Understanding. Child Development 84:3 906-920.  Full article available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3578097/

Crary, E. (2013). The secret of toddler sharing: Why sharing is hard and how to make it easier. Parenting Press, Seattle, WA.

Davis, L., and J. Keyser (1997).  Becoming the parent you want to be. Broadway Books, New York, NY.

Klein, T (2014). How toddlers thrive. Touchstone, New  York, NY.

Kohn (1993). Punished by rewards: The trouble with gold stars, incentive plans, As, praise, and other bribes. Houghton Mifflin, New York, NY.

Lancy, D. (2015). The anthropology of childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings. Second Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

Warenken, F., K. Lohse, A. Melis, and M. Tomasello (2011). Young Children Share the Spoils After Collaboration. Psychological Science 22:2 267-273.  Abstract available at: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/22/2/267.abstract


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Have you ever thought about how common the murder of children has been in societies we now call “Western” in the past, as well as societies all over the world today?

I recently read a book called The Anthropology of Childhood: Cherubs, Chattel, Changelings by David F. Lancy, and it’s a tour de force that describes attitudes to children across cultures today and in history.  Lancy describes how children in a variety of societies, from the Olmec to the Aztecs and the Greco-Romans, children were sacrificed to the Gods to bring rain, and to function as intermediaries between the divine and the human worlds.  In other cultures the infant is viewed as threatening in its own right or as a vessel or avatar for ghosts and evil spirits.  In Micronesia women might give birth to ghosts; deformed children who were thrown into the sea, burned or buried.  Cannibalism survives in the Korowai, New Guinea, where infanticide is not considered an immoral act because birth practices are repulsive and dangerous and a newborn is demonic rather than human.  Neglect may be even more frequent in the cross-cultural literature than deliberate killing, even if the end result is the same.  A study in Hungary found that mothers of high-risk infants breastfed them for shorter periods than normal infants, and also smiled less often at them and played with them less frequently.  They became pregnant more quickly following the birth of a high-risk infant – they had scaled back their investment in the high-risk infant and acted as if they didn’t expect it to survive.

Children have been and continue to be in many places regarded as property and material goods, as well as a source of income for families.  Slavery is one obvious form of this, but children were also sold into the army (one boy, aged 15, was bartered into the Army by his stepfather as a substitute for a man who paid the stepfather a horse, bridle, and saddle).  At the end of 2012 the UN reported that 175 Malian children were bought from their parents for more than $1000US to serve the Islamic insurgency.  Chinese mothers sell babies to orphanages which then resell them to eager adoptive – often American – parents.

In very many cultures either ancestors or elders – certainly adults – occupy the top of the pyramid of importance in a culture, with adolescents near the bottom and children at the very bottom.  Which is to say that it’s actually pretty remarkable that in the couple of hundred years or so since children were usually to be found working in factories earning money for their families that in WEIRD countries children are now at the top of the heap, dictating our social and cultural structures as we subvert our needs to theirs.  Until the 19th Century, there was no need to cherish an infant, or to help it develop; the death of a child was no great cause for sorrow and newborns were often referred to as “it” or “little stranger.”  With the Protestant Reformation came the sacred duty of parents to rear children for a blameless life.  The Victorians used dress and hairstyles to create androgynous, angelic innocents.  In Japan, children had been seen as utilitarian until after the second world war, where they were romanticized as cute, dependent, and needing much tender care.  By the 20th Century infant death became cause for public concern, and the fight to limit parents from earning a return from their children had strong moral overtones – “neglect” began to replace the fatalistic “God’s will” as the most common post-mortem verdict after child death.  Incrementally, possibly without anyone even noticing, WEIRD cultures have shifted from the adults being most important to the children.

(This podcast is a little different from most of the ones I’m planning for the future but I wanted to start off with it because I think the historical context is so important to understand.  The thing that really struck me the most was that things I take for granted – a child’s right to not be hit or even shamed, the desire to do the best for your children and help them achieve their fullest potential is not the way everybody parents, but hardly anybody has parented that way throughout history and even today it’s not a given.  What I didn’t realize was that virtually every choice I make as a parent is determined by my culture, although I find myself in the privileged position of being able to select what aspects of that culture I believe are most important and even borrow elements from other cultures if I choose.  I’m also privileged because the vast majority of scientific research in WEIRD countries is conducted on white children and parents, so it’s probably at least somewhat applicable to my parenting style.  Parents in other cultures even within the U.S. may parent very differently – Shirley Brice Heath’s seminal book called “Ways with Words” chronicled her years living in and near two poor rural communities in North Carolina.  She noted that in the black community, Trackton, children don’t expect adults to ask them questions because children aren’t considered appropriate conversational partners.  The most common kind of question asked of young children in Trackton was an analogy question, which calls for an open-ended answer drawn from the child’s experiences, designed to test the child’s ability to see things that are similar in their environment.  The adults use a lot of metaphors and similies in their own conversations, including comparing children to something else (“you act like some monkey”), so the questioning develops a skill that is critical to “fitting in” in that particular culture.  Far different from the popular press aimed at white parents today, which encourages parents not to compare their child with others so as to not damage their self-esteem, because every child is different and childhood isn’t a race so every child will get where they need to go at their own pace.

The parents of many toddlers will have weaned by now either because the milk ran out (like mine did) or due to cultural pressures – others may still be nursing and the decision of when to stop, and who decides when to stop (you and/or the child) and how to stop is one for which there are many approaches (Central African foragers apply hot pepper to her nipples which is apparently quite effective).  Providing stimulation to our babies and toddlers in the form of physical contact, the language of ‘motherese,’ and playing games like peekaboo to accelerate physical and intellectual development are a cultural decision.  In many cultures including the Inuit, nobody speaks to the child *at least* until the child is able to speak himself, and even then it is often ignored when it does speak up as it has nothing useful to add to a conversation.  In other cultures children defer to elders, rarely initiate topics of conversation, and take only brief speaking turns.  Adults are to be treated with deference and respect – children don’t express opinions, and adults are hardly likely to ask a child for their opinion.

North American mothers talk to and stimulate their babies to encourage the babies’ development as a unique person, while Japanese mothers comfort and lull babies and see the baby as an appendage – psychologically the boundaries between the two of them are blurred.  North American parents want their children to be popular with peers and well-liked by family and friends, and are willing to do a lot to make that happen.  In East Asia, high academic achievement is the primary objective and the child should willingly forgo popularity for exceptionality.

People control their children’s behavior in different ways.  I loved an example from the Ngoni of Malawi: “A proverb might suddenly be dropped like a stone into a pond.  The conversation rippled away into silence and the boy or girl who had refused to share some peanuts or had been boasting began to wonder to himself “Can that be for me? No? Yes? It is me. I am ashamed.” No one said anything but the shamed one took the first chance of slipping away to avoid further public notice.  The use of proverbs was an effective way of making a child learn for himself and apply the lesson.”  The Japanese use shame as well, as attention is called to filial obligations when children misbehave (“when you do that it makes mommy sad”).  Corporal punishment is still common around the world, from Morocco to Peru.  The rarest strategy, favored in WEIRD societies, is to “reason with” children, which may not be as effective at controlling behavior but does give some early preparation in negotiation skills and also facilitates the development of the (parent-as) teacher-pupil relationship.

Cultural issues have broad implications for the way we transmit knowledge to our children.  In many cultures children are expected to simply sit quietly and watch and learn – and they do.  Middle class North American parents set up learning situations with educational toys, pretend play, and in adjusting everyday activities like baking a cake to help the child learn how to cook.  In Southwest Madagascar an ethnographer observed a two-year old splashing alone in a tide pool, three boys aged around five clambering over a beached canoe, two boys aged about seven preparing and sailing model canoes, two boys aged about eight playing with an abandoned outrigger in the shallows – climbing on it, paddling it, capsizing it, taking turns as captain and mate; when two young men began to prepare to launch a full-size outrigger the two boys paddled over to watch this unfold; then a boy of about 10 came paddling in to shore in a half-size canoe.  An ethnographer who observed the Warao people in Venezuela said that “by the age of three all children know how to maneuver a canoe perfectly…it is truly breathtaking to observe a three year old child push off and paddle a canoe across an enormous river in full control of the craft.”  I know I assumed that everyone teaches their children things they think the children should know – but in the vast majority of non-WEIRD cultures parents don’t believe that knowledge must be crammed down children’s throats – instead the children will either learn because they want to, or because the physical or social consequences of not learning are too great.  In most places teaching is done for the benefit of the caretakers, to make the children easier to deal with, rather than for the child.  I’ve been reading a lot about scaffolding lately, which is the process of providing assistance to children to help them complete tasks that are just outside their current range of competence.  Lancy undercuts this by saying that “elaborate scaffolding is rarely seen in other cultures.  No one wants to waste time teaching novices who might well learn in time without instruction.  Play provides an alternative to adult scaffolding.”

One thing I haven’t seen in the ethnographic literature on other cultures is the concern for the child’s emotional wellbeing that I believe characterizes much of our interactions with our children in WEIRD countries.  We are moving away from hitting, ridiculing, and shaming because of the emotional consequences for both the child and later the adult, whereas I haven’t found any discussion of this at all related to other cultures.  I wonder if the adults resent the treatment they received as children or if, like college grads hired by investment banks, they simply look back on the experience as ‘character-building’ and perpetrate the same treatment on the next generation because, well, why not?  (At least, until the millennials came along…)

So what I’m going to do to tie this all up, which is the same thing I plan to do at the end of each of the future podcasts, is say “what the heck does all of this mean for me?  Why do I even care whether a three year-old Warao in Venezuela can paddle a canoe?”  My challenge both to myself and to you would be to recognize all of the decisions you make on an ongoing basis and just notice – not judge; just notice – the influence of culture on these and then to think about “what is the message I’m sending with what I’m saying or doing” and “is this the message I want to send?”  Dr. Dan Siegel did a great podcast as a guest with the group Zero to Three (look for the link on the blog page for this podcast) where he talks about parenting on automatic pilot: You’re aware you’re saying something or doing something but you didn’t really choose to say or do it; you’re just doing it.  And if you’re not conscious about how your own early experience shaped you, then whatever was said to or done to you ends up just being passed right on down to your kids. Then the interviewer makes a joke about why your parents push your buttons?  And the answer was because they installed them.

So what I encourage you to do is to be conscious of the things you’re saying and doing, and just notice for yourself whether or not these things are in line with the values you want to establish for your children.  So for example, when you’re at the dinner table, do you insist on children sitting up straight and keeping both writs on the edge of the table when his hands are not being used for eating like the French, or do you mostly ignore the children as you converse with the rest of the family, instead expecting the youngest to learn by watching? And I’m not the manners police here; I’m not here to say that one way of doing this is better than the other – I’m just describing two potential extremes that are currently practiced in different cultures today and wondering “how do I fit into this continuum?”  And “is what I’m doing likely to lead to the outcome I want for my child?”

Some other examples: when you’re working on one of your hobbies, how do you handle your child’s interest in the subject?  My two year-old daughter, Carys, is fascinated by cooking and in the past I’ve set up opportunities for her to cook – when we ran out of granola I would set up the kitchen, ingredients, and bowls so as to guide her through the process of making granola.  I’ve been using an approach to parenting called Resources for Infant Educarers, also known as RIE or respectful parenting (more on that in a future podcast), which advocates for not showing a child how to play (which is essentially what cooking is for Carys), but RIE advice officially “runs out” at age 2.  I’d had a hard time finding any information on anyone doing anything beyond that age other than providing educational opportunities to enhance children’s development, but now I see that in the grand scheme of things this is actually really uncommon and that providing her opportunities to simply watch me cook and later take on some of the simpler tasks herself would be just as much of a “learning” experience as the more elaborate set-ups I’d been doing.  When you’re around children who are playing and the play starts to get a bit excited and maybe aggressive, will you intervene or will you step back and let things play out?  Will you encourage sharing by forcing a child to give up a favorite toy to a playmate or by modeling sharing behavior?  And how will your own behavior be shaped by the expectations of your family, friends, and even strangers?  I know I feel the need to put on a bit of a “performance” when there are people watching.

As always, the references for this episode are on my website at yourparentingmojo.com; just go to Episode 1, The Importance of Culture in Parenting.

I’m looking forward to the next podcast, where we’ll be talking much more about the difficult topic of toddlers and sharing.

Imagine this: you’re with your toddler son or daughter at a playground on a Saturday afternoon so there are a lot of people around.  You’re sitting on a bench while your child plays in the sandpit where several others are playing as well.  You’re half paying attention while you catch up with some texts on your phone.  You hear a scream and when you look up you see a child you don’t know clutching tightly onto the spade your child had been playing with, and your child is about to burst into tears.

Or this: You’re at the playground on a Saturday afternoon and your child is in the sand pit, but when you hear the scream you look up to see your child holding the spade, and a child you don’t know has clearly just had it removed from his possession.

What do you do?

I find a host of conflicting emotions circle in me in these moments.

I want my daughter – who has just turned two – to understand the value of sharing and to proactively engage in sharing behavior.  I want other kids to engage in this behavior with her as well.  More than that, even, I don’t want my child to be perceived (mostly by the other child’s parent) as an aggressor.  Yet I’ve read that children are mentally incapable of understanding sharing until rather later than age two.  So what do I do?  Do I jump in, remove the spade from my child’s hands and give it back to the boy?  Do I sit on my bench and let them sort it out for themselves, risking the other parent stepping in and perhaps socially shaming my daughter or even me?

Some cultures take what I would call ‘drastic steps’ to promote sharing behavior.  The Papel people in Guinea-Bissau give something desirable, like a snack, to infants and then tell the infant to pass on the snack to a sibling.  The Ngoni people of southeast-central Africa force small children to “donate” prized resources to peers, and tell proverbs lauding generosity and condemning meanness – both direct and indirect ‘encouragement.’  Such training inculcates the importance of sharing behavior in young children and helps the children to seem more attractive to substitute caretakers, lessening the burden on the mother.

One can only imagine what’s going through the minds of these youngsters as they’re forced to “donate” their prized possessions.  A key goal for western parents is to encourage spontaneous sharing behavior, and preferably even altruism – the idea that someone takes an action to benefit another, which has no benefit for himself.  Anthropologists have noted that a key socialization goal for western parents is to ensure that their children are liked by others, and adults see sharing behavior as a key indicator of a child who will be liked (interestingly I couldn’t find any studies showing that children prefer other children who share…).  I’m going to set aside the topic of altruism and helping behavior for now because there is a lot of research on that and I’d like to save it for a future episode.  For now I’ll focus on the concept of sharing behavior.

Anyone who has been around more than one toddler knows that sharing is a fraught subject.  Even children who will willingly help to clean up a mess or cooperate in getting ready to leave the house (considered other examples of pro-social behavior) are less likely to engage in sharing behavior, as sharing typically involves giving up something of value to someone else.  I’ve read an anecdote (and can’t remember the source now!) of a toddler who said “share” as he forcibly removed a toy from another child’s hands – because he had learned over time through adults removing toys from his own hands and saying ‘share’ that ‘to share’ means ‘to give up the thing you want.’  Younger children are especially reluctant to share; a recent experiment with one and two year-olds found that the children were much less likely to give up their blanket or a special toy brought from home to help a hapless adult than they were to help under identical circumstances without the sacrifice.  Very young children – aged 10-12 months have been studied brining toys to parents in apparent acts of sharing or offering food to parents, but the young children may not be acting in a truly prosocial way in the sense of behavior that is intended to benefit another.  They may instead be seeking a positive reaction or approval from an adult, or perhaps it’s a part of how the two play together, or maybe even a way to keep a toy away from a sibling.  Some babies, after they start this ‘sharing’ behavior, will later hold out something as if it is to be shared and then withdraw it.  It’s all part of their experimentation on social interactions to see what will happen when they do this.

The concept of ownership is important in sharing.  When do children know that something belongs to them rather than to everybody or nobody?  One study found that children as young as 18 months resisted peers’ attempts to take their toys.  When the original possessor tried to regain the toy from the taker, the taker protested just as much as when somebody who had never played with the toy tried to take it – implying that the children were reacting to the loss of something desirable rather than because they understand prior possession or ownership.  By around age two, children are usually able to articulate something about ownership – they can identify to whom items belong, and two year-olds will protest their own toys being taken away more than neutral toys.  Two year-olds will protest if their own belongings are taken but don’t recognize the injustice of someone else’s belongings being taken (possibly because empathy is also a late-developing skill).  One study found that 24 month olds shared toys and food significantly earlier in a series of cues than younger children – often within the first five seconds, upon the playmate’s sigh or forlorn look – four times more often as 18 month-olds.  24 month olds shared without even being asked about ¾ of the time, with 18 month-olds sharing about ¼ of the time.  18 month-olds sometimes shared without being asked by a playmate but rarely spontaneously, although they often shared if the playmate specifically requested it.  24 mont-olds shared spontaneously more often than not and did so more quickly; often immediately that they recognized their playmate had no toys.  The toddlers thus recognize when they and a partner have unequal resources and will share when the costs are minimal (i.e. there are other toys to play with).  The experimentors theorize that younger toddlers may not understand when other toddlers want to share toys.  The toddlers in the experiement were playing with an adult experimentor who could clearly articulate his/her desire for toys, and where this articulation occurred the 18 month-old were more willing to share.  If a toddler is unwilling or unable to vocalize his desire for a toy then how can another be expected to share it?  By 24 months responsiveness to non-verbal requests becomes more highly developed, but that requires the child playing with the toy to disengage from his own play to consider what the other child wants.

So to share what’s yours, you first have to understand it to be yours.  My two year-old does now understand that my sunglasses are mine (and that I don’t want her to play with them).  I think she understands that her few special toys belong to her, and while I’ve heard her say “your shoes” (she still mixes her pronouns) when she’s putting them on I’ve never heard her say it in a possessive way over a treasured belonging.

Another key concept is related to time.  Parents of toddlers know that toddlers live in the present – they only care about what’s happening right now.  So if someone else is playing with their toy *right now,* as far as they’re concerned it’s gone for good.  As their understanding of time develops and they can tell an absent parent what they did at the park today, and can think (with some encouragement) about what they will do after a nap, they can see another child holding their toy and imagine a time when they might get it back.

Children also need to see themselves as individuals, with thoughts and feelings separate from those of others, before they can empathize and thus truly share.  This is something to keep in mind when your child goes through the sometimes interminable “me/mine/I can do it myself!” stage – this development is necessary for them to understand that “me” is different from “you” and “you” have feelings too!

Finally, they need some form of impulse control: the ability to wait and not just grab what they want.

Until children have these skills, it really isn’t possible for them to truly share.  Have a quick think right now.  Can you remember a time when your child has exhibited each of these skills?  If not, that’s totally normal!  And it explains why your child isn’t really ready to share.

As parents, we can model some of the actions related to sharing, like turn-taking.  Carys often wants some of whatever I’m eating so when I make myself a snack of yogurt and berries I put more in the bowl than I need so we can share.  While she usually starts out by saying “Want some!  Want some!,” after a couple of times where I take a spoonful and then offer her a spoonful she gets into a rhythm of taking turns.  At other times she will offer me a grape out of her own bowl and say “sharing.”

While taking turns is an important action related to sharing, it isn’t truly sharing until the child empahises with me that I want a grape and then offers it to me.  Carys has recognized sadness in herself and others for a while; interestingly she told me “baby sad” when she heard a baby crying several weeks before she described it in herself (“Carys sad”).  She will sometimes randomly say to me “pretty happy!”, meaning “I’m pretty happy!” and just recently we were reading the book Penguin in which a boy named Ben receives a penguin as a gift, the Penguin just sits in stoic silence as Ben tries to entertain and then provoke it, and eventually Ben jumps up and down, gets red in the face, and yells “Say something!”.  Several times Carys has pointed to Ben and said “nap nap” (meaning he is sleeping) because he’s screaming with his eyes closed, but last time we read it we talked about how people can have their eyes closed for reasons other than that they’re sleeping and that Ben jumping up and down and having red cheeks meant he was probably really frustrated.  She returned to that page in the book several more times the same night, pointed to Ben, and said “frustrated.”  I’ll be interested to see how she generalizes it to other people and empathises with them in the coming weeks and months.

Another thing parents can do is to keep a few special toys to be truly the child’s own and not for sharing, especially with visitors in the child’s own home.  This can help him to become more willing to share the toys he’s less attached to.  If this fails, try meeting with friends in neutral places like a park or a beach where there is lots of everything (sticks, rocks, sand, seaweed…) and nobody owns any of it.

We might be tempted to reward sharing behavior by praising “good job” or something similar, but parents who value intrinsic motivation as a quality in children might consider avoiding this.  Alfie Kohn, a former teacher turned theorist on parenting issues has a great book on this topic that I’ll delve into much more deeply in a later episode; for now I’ll just point out a couple of studies he mentions.  One study found that “Children who come to believe that their prosocial behavior reflects values or dispositions in themselves have internal structures that can generate behavior across settings and without external pressures.  By contrast, children who view their prosocial conduct as compliance with external authority (for example, because a parent has told them to share, or shamed them for not sharing, or praised them for sharing) will act prosocially only when they believe external pressures are present.  Another found that school children whose mothers relied on tangible rewards like stickers or toys were less likely than other children to care and sharea t home, and were less likely to be helpful in a laboratory experiment.  Finally, another study found that four year olds who were frequently praised for prosocial acts were less likely over time to engage in them than children who didn’t receive verbal reinforcement.  The reward is about controlling behavior, and nobody – not even children – like to be controlled.

We can also consider shaming a child into sharing, as some of the cultures we mentioned at the beginning of this episode do – in some cultures this is perfectly acceptable.  Something along the lines of “Be a good girl and share the truck with Johnny.”  What the girl hears is “I’m not a good girl.  You can’t have that thing you really want; I’m going to make you give it to Johnny.”  Resources for Infant Educarers, the respect-based parenting philosophy to which I subscribe, has a way to approach this: to introduce the idea of considering the emotions of others without shaming the child who wants to hold onto the toy: “Maria, you’re playing with the truck.  Nate would like to play as well.  When you’re done with the truck, please let us know because Nate is waiting.”  Maria might continue to play with the truck for some minutes but quite often she will voluntarily offer the truck to Nate sooner than you might expect, because there was no pressure on her to share and she was able to do it while saving face.  Nate can also be encouraged to develop his impulse control: “I know you want to play with the truck.  Maria has it right now.  It can be hard to wait.  When Maria has finished, you can have the truck.”

So when is all this likely to change?  As long as children play alongside each other, like two year-olds do, they don’t have much motivation to share.  As they approach three and are more interested in playing *with* each other, they suddenly have motivation to make – and keep – friends who also want to play with a given set of toys.  As the capacity for empathy develops the children shift from sharing for their own benefit (so other children will continue to play with them) and toward sharing for more altruistic reasons.  One study showed that three year-old children share most equally with a peer after they have worked together to obtain rewards in a task requiring their collaboration, even when one child could have monopolized the reward.

Finally, I want to acknowledge that a lot of the pressure we feel as parents around sharing comes not from the other child with whom we want our child to share, but from that child’s parents.  We’ve all felt the evil eye from parents who think our child might be trampling on their child’s needs.  One way we might consider approaching this is to quickly ask other parents right as a situation begins to escalate: “Are you ok with letting them work this out by themselves?”  People from some cultures might be fine with this and will let the children work it out even if they hit each other (which will likely get the message across quite effectively!).  Others will let the children try to sort it out but will block any attempt to hit.  Some find “sportscasting” helpful – saying (without analyzing) what is happening.  “Maria had the toy and now Nate has it.  Maria is crying” (without layering in “Nate took the toy and now Maria is sad”).  This allows the children to begin to consider each other’s feelings without the pressure of the adults’ interpretation.

If you need more help with toddler sharing, I can highly recommend the booklet “The Secret of Toddler Sharing: Why sharing is hard and how to make it easier.”  It’s 36 pages of strategies specifically on guiding toddlers toward sharing.  Don’t worry about remembering the title – just look for it along with the other references for this on my website at yourparentingmojo.com; just go to Episode 2, Why doesn’t my toddler share anything?


Thanks for listening: next time we’ll be talking about encouraging early literacy skills in children who aren’t reading yet.

Also published on Medium.


About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

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