Learning to share

Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn’t expect a child to really understand “sharing” until around the age of four.

It’s not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child’s point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it’s okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Preschoolers spend a fair amount of their playtime working out who will have what, who will do what and who can play. This is normal – it’s how they practice the social skills needed for friendships. At this stage, children are better able to exchange both ideas and toys. They like to give and take.

If by age four your child still doesn’t cooperate with others, and is hostile, it’s best to get some help. Consult your child’s physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.