What The Go-To Mom Has Taught Me About Kids and Sharing

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I am a huge fan of parenting books because as a mom I really can use all the help I can get! With each one I have read, I have taken away different gems of advice or different ways of looking at things that have been helpful at challenging times. One of these gems was something I learned while reading The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children. And it had to do with kids and sharing.  What I learned from Kimberley has been so incredibly effective with my toddler (and even my five-year-old) that I felt compelled to share it with you!

Full of practical tips, the book is focused on empathy, emotion coaching and honoring how children think and feel. If you can look at situations from your child’s point of view, and can empathize with how they are feeling, you can help validate those emotions as real and important emotions and give them the tools to work through them.

Now on the point I picked up on sharing. The Go-To Mom’s advice is to not make sharing a power struggle. And these were the words that changed the sharing battle for me…

“…Another way to go is to let your child enjoy his toy before you ask him to hand it over to a friend. If a child is instructed to share before he’s had an opportunity to enjoy his toy, it’s possible that he’ll resent the concept of sharing. But if he’s had a chance to satisfy his own curiosity, he’s more likely to be willing to take turns….”
pg. 110

I thought about it, and when my oldest was a toddler, if we were at the park or at a play date if she was playing with something and some other kid wanted it, being a mom who so badly wanted to raise a daughter that SHARED, I would immediately tell her to give her friend a TURN and SHARE.  Basically asking her to give it up right in the middle of her enjoying it.

As a result it would often turn into a power struggle, and end with tears and a “MINE!” or “NO!” battle.

So when I read what Kimberley suggests, it connected with me. To a self-involved two-year-old, “sharing” is probably like a bad word. Really, how much fun is sharing when you are two?  Here she is having a good ole’ time with a toy and all of a sudden she is asked to give it away against her will. No wonder it faces resistance!

My youngest, Morgan is currently two, and I have totally changed my approach on teaching her to share. Now when Morgan is playing with something and another child wants a turn, I tell her “when you are done playing with the toy, can you please give your friend a turn and share it?”

Eight times out of ten she will look at me, continue playing with it for what is usually a very short time, then toddle over and give it away to share.

At this point, I act as though she has solved world peace (not really, but kind of!) and give her lots of positive reinforcement.

As a result she is now choosing to “share” more and more on her own without being asked. She will also look at me with a twinkle in her eye and run up to me and say, “I share Mommy!”

I love this because it has taken the battle out of sharing and given HER the power to make the decision when she is done. Letting her share on her own terms has been really amazingly helpful, and surprisingly, many times when I explain to the other child, “when Morgan is done playing with it she will give you a turn” it often seems to satisfy them and they will go on to something else in the meantime.

Does this work all the time?


Does it work a lot of the time?


And that makes me one very happy Mommy thanks to The Go-To Mom!  This book is really fabulous and I highly recommend it.  You will see your children through a different set of eyes and I think new perspectives can be so powerful in parenting.

Click HERE to watch a video with more of Kimberley’s helpful tips on sharing.

www.TheGoToMom.TV *  Follow @TheGoToMom on Twitter


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  1. 1
    Susanne says:

    This will come in so handy with my 2 yr old- thank you!

    • 2
      Jen says:

      I kid you not, but I was just at the park with my two-year-old and another two-year-old and I took a fighting over climbing on this silly thing into a “It’s YOUR turn!” game with them…seriously, taking turns and every time they did it, I would clap and that turned into more fun than the climbing thing.

      It was so cool to see something that would have turned into a battle turned into a game, and I started it with, Morgan when you are done, tell this little girl it’s HER turn….

      And the little girl did the same. It was seriously so fun to see this in action!!!

  2. 3
    Dana M says:

    This is a great article. Thanks for the suggestion. Sharing is always a major struggle…I’m going to try this next time!

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