Why does my child refuse to share?

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Sharing and other social skills are part of social development, which includes  being able to participate in group activities, knowing how to behave in a group, how to wait for a turn and how to ask for things etc..(manners).

Children learn by imitation, so first of all the care giver must have the highest social skills.Social development is a process, it happens in steps and is also a product of the child’s observation. Hence social skills are best enhanced keeping in mind the developmental stage of the child and exposing him/her to the right environment, role models and activities for social development.

Play is the work of childhood and children learn through play. Play also defines the social development of the child. There are different age related stages of play, we are listing them into three broad categories:

1.Solitary play

2.Parallel play

3.Group play



During the solitary play stage a child wants to be alone while playing, he/she gets irritable even if there is another child sitting near him/her, so you can forget about the


child wanting to share their toys! This stage usually lasts up to 2 years and some children may move on from this stage at an earlier age whilst others may remain in this stage for a longer period of time. This depends on the environment and a lot of other factors. Children at this stage should be given their own toys and if in a school environment, then all the toys given to kids at any given time should be similar because children get irritable about ‘their space.’It is important to distance the children from each other and hence over crowded classrooms with less toys don’t work well for these children and they tend to be irritable and unsociable.

At the parallel play stage the child is now ready to have another child sitting near him/her   but still wants his /her  own toys, ( and even the the other child’s toys, it’s a stage of me, my, mine). It’s o.k if you put the child next to me, but see that he /she does not touch my toys!!!!!  This stage occurs between the ages of 2 and 3 years but sometimes children may continue to want to play in this way till the age of 4 years. scene-of-cute-girls-playing_23-2147610247

At the group play stage kids now enjoy playing in a group, but have yet to form an understanding of rules and regulations.


Now keeping these in mind, you can imagine how difficult  it will be for a child in the solitary play stage to be taken on a play-date where he/she has to share! Or for a child in the parallel play stage to share the swing or the slide whilst playing in the park. Due to the age of the child and the stage of play, it is but natural for children to throw tantrums when they are expected to play in a way that doesn’t match their stage of play.


Picture source: theocelot.co.uk
Picture source: http://www.freepik.com






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 communication-icons_23-2147501112 : sanam@born-smart.com
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