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On Sharing (and why we don't have to teach it)

So many posts in Facebook groups about sharing.

How do I get my kids to share?

My kid always takes toys!

My kid won’t share his stuff!

And here’s my hot take, as a licensed therapist and early child development expert:

Sharing is not a skill we have to teach!

Here’s why: sharing comes from a place of deep social connection and the awareness and understanding of others’ feelings. And we share for two reasons: because we’re either done with the item OR because we want the other person to experience this item, because we like it.

As with many social skills, most (most! never all) children will naturally learn this over time, through lots and lots of play! They’ll learn this through being kind to others, receiving kindness from others, MODELING sharing from adults, respect for their own feelings.

And here's a pro tip: we expect sharing wayyyy too early in a developmental sense. At minimum, kids generally don’t get the concept of sharing until age 3 but it often takes 1-2 more years to really get the deeper social construct around the skill and practice it independently!

Wouldn’t we rather our kids share form a place of kindness, respect, and engagement with others than because we told them so, or because they’ll get in trouble if they don’t? Seems silly when you say it like that!

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