Babies under age one simply don’t understand the concepts of ownership or sharing. When babies of this age are put together, they usually play side by side, each with their own set of toys. Between the ages of one and two, however, your baby may become fiercely protective of her toys. “Mine!” she shouts as she grabs a doll from a playmate. No sooner have you smoothed out that squabble when another occurs. You may have a hard time with this, thinking your child is acting selfishly, being bossy, and may even end up friendless if she keeps it up!
How and when should we teach children to share? Sharing is a tough one to learn. Many of us as adults aren’t very good at sharing. How many of us hide the “good stuff” from our families so that we don’t have to share?
The task for your child’s first year is to learn to trust. You are your child’s first playmate. When parents play with babies and give them what they want, they learn to trust their parents and that the world is a pretty good place. The best way to teach your baby about sharing is to model polite behaviour. If your baby sees you saying “please”, “thank you” and “how are you?” to others, it will rub off on her. She may even start saying “thank you” as one of her first sets of words!