Sharing Isn’t ALWAYS Caring , and Why That’s Okay

Sharing Isn’t ALWAYS Caring

As parents we try to teach our kids to share, but ALWAYS sharing isn't really a thing of the real world. Read how I teach sharing, and other great skills to build a CARING child.


Well, that’s not what they teach us. Rather in daycare or elementary age school, the teachers are constantly saying “ share the toys” Let him/ her have a turn”.

Sharing is Caring…that’s what I have always heard.

I use to think this was a concept I was going to make sure my child(ren) would good at because sharing is caring. You should share your stuff with other people. Kids are supposed to let the other kid play with the toy too. Right?

This isn’t how life is. If someone told me I had to share my car, my house, my phone, anything I owned with a stranger or even a friend I would tell them they were crazy. There is no way I am just going to share everything I have worked hard for with anyone if I don’t want to.


So why do we teach this to kids?

I do we expect them to be okay with some other child coming in and playing with their toys or having to give up a toy they are playing with because another kid wants it.

If grown up life was like this I could just go up to someone I am with and expect them to let me drive their nice convertible because I don’t have a car like that and they do so they should share with me. During lunch at work, I would sit down to eat my lunch I packed for myself and my boss would then say… Did you bring enough for everyone in the department to share? When you ask an adult to do something you require a child to do…it seems pretty odd. Now now, I know what you are thinking. Oh, Laura, I want my kid to share because it isn’t good when (s)he gets upset when we have guests over and he doesn’t want to give up his favorite toy.

Tantrums are the worse. Trust me I KNOW, but telling your child they must give up something they are playing with to let another person play with it instead is a HARD concept to understand. For anyone, especially a child whose whole world revolves around themselves( which is natural, you can’t really be mad at them for something that developmentally they are wired to do).

Click here to learn how I manage Toddler and Tween Tantrums!


5 Things to Teach Instead

1.Taking Turns

This is different than sharing because it doesn’t require the child to give up the toy. Instead, it lets another person play with it when they are done. There are usually plenty of other toys the other kids can play with which then teaches if I’m not using it then others can. This apply’s to playgrounds and other public places. Sharing teaches, I can have something just because another person does and it doesn’t matter if they are done or want to share or not.

We have all heard the bit…. MOMMMMMMMM (S)he isn’t Sharing. In the whiniest voice possible. Then we then respond with “share with …insert child’s name”.

2. Being patient

Learning to Wait their turn. Life is full of lines, waiting and even children need to know that everything isn’t imminently when they want it.

3. Being Appreciative & Polite

Appreciating when someone does let him play with something they own or sharing something with him… because the truth is they don’t have to and he shouldn’t expect them to.

4.Being Respectful

Teaching him to respect other people’s choices, property, and public property is much more important than learning to share. In the adult world, he will need to know that everyone’s choices don’t revolve on making him happy, or satisfied. Other people have wants and needs and I think it is very important that he respectful of others.

5.Handling emotions correctly

What is someone doesn’t want to share, and their parents aren’t around to make them share. He needs to know how to handle hurt feelings or anger because he can’t play with someone else’s toy.

Want to know my five tips for building a Nicer Child CLICK HERE

Tips for know WHEN to teach Sharing

I do believe there is a time for sharing and a time where kids shouldn’t HAVE to share.

For example,

  • Food-when having guest over or as a guest at someone else’s home. I think bringing enough for everyone is a common thing. Then again, when at a daycare or school kids don’t have to share their lunch with everyone. It is their lunch and if they want to trade that is up to them.
  • Tolerance: If a child throws a fit if another person plays with a certain toy best thing to do is to put that toy away before the play date, or take it away and introduce another toy or activity that has multiples.
  • Group activities Kids should share in including other kids when playing with things like chalk, bubbles, art, or sports activities. This encourages group play and social skills, as long as all kids involved are playing appropriately.

In the end, the world isn’t all black and white, wrong and right. You have to do what’s best for your child in your situations. There are times kids should share because they want to not because they have to. As parents, we should be focusing on creating caring children, who want to share but also know when they work hard for something they don’t have to share it with anyone else.

Let me know! How do you handle sharing in your home?


2 Responses

  1. Lynsey says:

    This is a very good point of view, and I totally agree with you! This has made me think, and there is a lot I need to work on. Especially with my son being an only child.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for the tips! So true! They don’t have to always give up their favorite things!!

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