Difficulty Sharing

In a perfect world, your toddler would graciously share his toys with his friends during play dates, but it’s developmentally normal and expected for young children to want their stuff all to themselves.

Refusing to share a toy or food with a playmate is typical behavior for a toddler. Wanting an interesting toy is a natural inclination; understanding that someone else wants it too is not.

While toddlers are capable of limited degrees of empathy (bursting into tears when another child cries, for example), they’re not able to understand how another person feels and control their own behavior in response.

Most children don’t understand that helping friends to be happy is relevant to their own pleasure until around age 3 or later. Until then, their own interests in a toy or other object are most influential.

See also ...

•  How toddlers make friends

•  Helping your toddler learn to share

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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