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AIBU regarding the concept of sharing for toddlers

(34 Posts)
LivingOnTheDancefloor Wed 13-Jul-16 14:36:10

My DTs are 2yo and and the other day my nanny told me they were not really good at sharing toys especially with other children when on playdates. We talked about it and it seems that we disagree on how some situations should be handled. I am from another country and therefore am ready to accept that there might cultural differences and I need to adapt!
Obviously I am all for sharing toys, happy children playing happily together etc.
But what about this specific situation:
Child A plays with a toy. Child B wants the same one and tries to take it from Child A. They fight (I have rarely a situation when Child A says "no you can't have it" and Child B quietly accepts it - that would be ideal of course!)
In my view, Child B should be told that Child A had the toy first and he has to find another one until the toy is free. Child A should be encouraged to give the toy if he doesn't seem interested anymore or after he plays with it for 5 more minutes or so.
My nanny thinks that the toy should be removed as the children were fighting.
I get that you want to discourage fighting. However this doesn't seem fair for Child A: either he lets go of the toy when the other child wants it, or he "fights for it" and the toys gets taken away. So basically, Child A who was minding his own business has no way of continuing to play with his toy just because someone else wants it. Isn't this unfair??

hesterton Wed 13-Jul-16 14:38:50

I agree with you. Child B needs to understand just because he wants it doesn't mean China A should give it up. You're right to press on with the idea of sharing but they don't really get it at that age. Why not get a noisy egg timer and tell the hildren when 2 mins or whatever are up, the toys get swapped? Make a game of it?

hesterton Wed 13-Jul-16 14:40:02

No idea how China got into there!

LivingOnTheDancefloor Wed 13-Jul-16 14:42:09

Just to add, I am talking about small individual toys.
Obviously, for something like a play kitchen or a train track with several trains, the children shoud all play together.
Same thing if the toy is the "main attraction" of the room, then it is completely fair to take turns.

NarcyCow Wed 13-Jul-16 14:43:10

Your nanny is very harsh! The toy shouldn't be taken away. Also, two year olds are not natural sharers, they're really only learning at that stage. She needs to be helping them to learn, not punishing everybodY

whifflesqueak Wed 13-Jul-16 14:43:58

in my local baby and toddler group, the mother of child A would run over, take the toy away from her offspring and hand it magnanimously to child B.

I don't understand it at all.

WeDoNotSow Wed 13-Jul-16 14:46:50

I agree with you, Child A should be left alone to do what they were happily doing, Child B needs to either wait or ideally be distracted with something else.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Wed 13-Jul-16 14:47:44

I agree with you totally.

Also the idea of enforced sharing of everything is largely discredited - it's something only children have ever been forced to do and totally artificial, adults do not share in such arbitrary way and neither expect to surrender their belongings to all and sundry on demand nor expect to be able to demand use of other people's things instantly. There is a total lack of respect for the value of a child's play in the insistence by some adults that children give up the things they are playing with on demand (usually adults do this to make themselves look good to watching other adults or because they've never engaged their brain about exactly what they are achieving).

WeDoNotSow Wed 13-Jul-16 14:51:23

Yep, the very over dramatic 'look at me, look what a good parent I am by ensuring my child shares' bollocks drives me mad!!

LivingOnTheDancefloor Wed 13-Jul-16 14:52:42

I am almost suprised you agree with me! She seemed so sure her way was the right one, telling me it was also done this way when she worked in a nursery.
And yes about adults not being expected to share like children are!

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Wed 13-Jul-16 14:53:19

Yes I agree, child A should continue playing with the toy for a while, and child B wait or be distracted, otherwise it sends a weird message to child A that if somebody else wants your toy it will be taken away!

We talk about "taking turns" rather than sharing and I think this is an easier concept for my 2 year old to understand.

So if she was child A I'd say "it's your turn to play with it now, later it will be child B 's turn". If child B was still interested later I would distract child A/ explain their turn has finished and let child B have their turn. Generally I find that works well.

longdiling Wed 13-Jul-16 14:56:33

I also agree with you! Your Nanny is taking the easy way out. Toy taken away means she doesn't have to deal with the situation.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Wed 13-Jul-16 14:57:50

Although I was told by another mum at a playgroup that my method was completely wrong, and that if another child snatched my child's toy I should say "it's their turn now"- what message does that send about snatching?!

Itsaplayonwords Wed 13-Jul-16 15:03:27

I completely agree with you. I'd go with "Child A is playing with it at the moment but it'll be your turn in a minute. Let's see what other toys there are" etc etc and then ask Child A to share the toy after a couple of minutes by which time neither child probably gives a shit anyway. Feel a bit sorry for Child A.

Schwabischeweihnachtskanne Wed 13-Jul-16 15:16:59

Tbh I think even the 5 minute timer/ give it to child B after 5 minutes is wrong.

If a toddler is concentrating on a game with a toy for more than 5 minutes that is brilliant - it sends totally the wrong message to tell them to stop mid game when they are engrossed and hand the toy over.

Imagine doing that with lego or a jigsaw or a colouring book...

It requires actually thinking and paying attention to what the child is actually doing, but unless the child is being spiteful keeping the toy just to stop the other child having it I'd let child A finish their game without time pressure and distract child B.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Wed 13-Jul-16 15:19:44

As far as I'm concerned two year olds should not be expected to share, as they are two.

Twins are expected to be able to share a lot more IMO when in reality they are the same as non-twins. They aren't born with an innate sense of sharing!

RubbleBubble00 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:21:24

It's still happens with my 7, 5 and 3 year old. I usually use a 5 min timer so everyone gets 5 mins each - much easier than removing the toy and a meltdown. I would remove the toy in an all out tussle where they are in the mode just to fight with each other

RubbleBubble00 Wed 13-Jul-16 15:23:04

Iv found distraction works best at 2 though. Distract child b so child a gets left alone, then usually child a ends up wanting to play and gives b the toy anyway

ludog Wed 13-Jul-16 15:51:34

I remember when dd1was about 26/36 months. I minded a child the same age as her. I had the "if you're fighting over a toy it gets put away "rule. Dd soon copped in that if she didn't want the other child to have a toy all she had to do was fight over it and I'd put it away. I realised that the type was very ineffective and did the taking turns stuff which of course meant it took longer to sort out disagreements but which actually taught them about sharing and being fair.

allowlsthinkalot Wed 13-Jul-16 17:01:42

I agree with you.

I also think the egg timer is wrong.

I (try to) teach my children to ask, "please can I have it after you?" And the other to remember and hand it over when they have finished playing with it.

CigarsofthePharoahs Wed 13-Jul-16 17:05:54

I don't "expect" my two year old to share. He's too young to understand. I do step in if I see him acting like child B and trying to snatch things.
When my eldest was 2 I didn't have to worry about snatching, he was such a bloody pushover he'd even let babies take things off him. Ironically he's somewhat the opposite now he's five and we have proper fights over things. Usually ds2 had the item first so I tell ds1 he has to wait until ds2 has finished.

Pearlman Wed 13-Jul-16 17:10:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NapQueen Wed 13-Jul-16 18:30:07

If my kids have this it's usually B only wanting something after they've seen A playing with it. So B is told no and to find something else until A is finished.

I only remove toys if I find them fighting over something and when I ask who had it first they both say "me" - if I don't know I can't give it to the correct child so it goes away.

Familyof3or4 Wed 13-Jul-16 18:34:37

I completely agree with you

wheresthel1ght Wed 13-Jul-16 18:41:22

I kind of do a mix of both

So child b would be told that they needed to ask child a if they could have the toy when A had finished with it. If the argument continues then the toy would be removed and both children told that until they can play together nicely and share then the toy will be taken away

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