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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