Encouraging your toddler to share

by Maxine
Posted December 16 2010 07:00pm
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Does your child ever have trouble sharing? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Our experts have come up with several suggestions for helping your toddler learn to share.

Be a role model. If you share and take turns with your child, he will experience how nice it is to have someone share with him, and will learn to do the same thing with others.

Try to let your child have enough space to play beside another child, but make room for her own toys and activities. When children are very young, it's a good idea to have duplicate toys to make everybody happy. Allow your child to think of a toy as "mine, mine, mine!" but also acknowledge your child when she lets someone else take a turn. Describe how the other child feels when she shares, such as, "Johnny is so happy you gave him a turn with the ball."

Be a guide. If your child wants a toy another child has, help him find some other interesting toy or activity in the meantime, to help him learn to wait.

Be patient. Know that it takes time for children to be ready to share, so don't expect your child to be too generous too soon. And certainly don't punish her for not sharing or taking turns. You want sharing to be a happy experience - not something your child feels forced to do.

At about three years old, help your child sort it out with other children if an argument develops over a toy. This will give him the skills to eventually work things out himself.

And finally, until you feel your child can handle them, avoid situations with too many children. They can be overwhelming if a child is in the middle of an "all mine" stage.


How do you teach your toddler share? What techniques have worked for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience with parents just like you!

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How do toddlers learn to share?

by Maxine
Posted December 17 2010 03:26pm
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Knowing how to share is an important skill for getting along with others, but parents shouldn't expect a child to really understand "sharing" until age four.

It's not surprising that it takes time to be able to share. There is a lot to learn. Children have to be able to control their impulse to grab something. They have to be able to see another child's point of view, understand time well enough to feel that it's okay to wait for what they want and be able to talk enough to sort out who gets what, and when.

Toddlers just know that they want something, and they want it now. Toddlers first have to develop a sense of who they are, and then start to learn about ownership of things. Even though toddlers enjoy being near other children, and even want to do the same thing, they still want their own space and toys. It's all part of learning that they're individuals, and that they're important. Toddlers seem to have unique rules of ownership, such as, "I didn't want it until you had it" or "It's mine because I want it." 

If by age four your child still doesn't cooperate with others, and is hostile, it's best to get some help. Consult your child's physician for referrals to appropriate family services in your area.


How did you encourage your toddler to share? Leave a comment below and let other parents know your tips for this parenting challenge.


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Inspiring your toddler's creativity

by Maxine
Posted August 8 2011 03:04pm
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You don’t need to spend a lot of money to inspire your child’s creativity. Being creative doesn’t have to start with expensive materials from the toy or art store.

Creating toys and activities for children from recyclable materials or "beautiful junk" is important for two reasons:

  • Common household materials are an inexpensive way to provide play opportunities for young children
  • Children's creativity and thinking skills can be developed at the same time that you are being an environmentally conscious parent

The following list can be used along with scissors, glue, yarn, paint and markers, in order to construct and create anything your child's imagination suggests:

egg cartons
milk cartons (all sizes)
plastic containers, bottles and jugs with lids
boxes (large and small)
aluminum pie plates
styrofoam trays
paper towel and toilet rolls
cardboard tubing
old wrapping paper
road maps
muffin tins
popsicle sticks
old, clean paint brushes
wooden clothes pegs
used envelopes
old Christmas cards
old pantyhose
paint chips/samples
brown paper bags
buttons (all colours, shapes and sizes)
egg shells
coffee cans and lids
empty film canisters
juice lids
carpet samples
spools; ribbon rolls
bottle caps
yarn; ribbons
magazines; catalogues; calendars
cloth scraps of different fabric
leather or suede remnants
lace, trim or rick rack
beads; old jewellery
wood scraps; dowels
discarded wallpaper sample books
inner tubes
pipe lengths
old newsprint

Use recycled materials from around your house to encourage your child’s imagination and creativity while having fun together! Visit the Activity Centre for lots of fun activities that you can do with your child to encourage his creativity. 

What articles from around your house have you used to inspire your child’s creativity? Share your ideas below!

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Ensuring your toddler appreciates his holiday gifts

by Maxine
Posted January 4 2012 12:48pm
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Family members can be generous to a fault when it comes to giving gifts to young children. Consider what it feels like as an adult to have a mountain of presents to open, examine, and respond to. Toddlers too, can be easily overwhelmed and do not know how to manage their feelings in such situations. Parents can ease the stress for their toddlers by limiting the amount of presents that are available for a child to play with.

As miniature scientists, toddlers mainly play by trying things out and observing the response. The key to productive play is to help your child to focus and limit the distractions. Toddlers do not know how many presents they received because they do not understand quantity, nor will they be able to remember who gave them what present.

To decrease the stress around gifts:

  • Slow down the pace so that your child opens a present and has time to explore it. Let him watch as other family members open their gifts before offering him another one to open.
  • Watch your child to observe which toy really catches his interest. Follow his lead and support his play with that particular toy. 
  • Do not be upset if your child seems to prefer the wrapping paper and boxes.
  • Select three toys that have piqued your child's curiosity. Put the other gifts away in a closet out of sight for another time. Knowing your child's temperament will also help guide your decisions about which gifts to keep out, i.e., books or puzzles versus action toys.


If family members have sent several gifts, select one to put under the tree or in the stocking and save the others for another time.

Has your toddler ever been overwhelmed by an abundance of gifts at the holidays or at a birthday? Share your stories below!

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