Difficulty Sharing

Q: “My 19-month-old son is having a difficult time sharing at our playgroup. How can I teach him that not everything belongs to him?”

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

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

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