I was the parent of one child for ten years, and he was great at sharing … maybe because he didn’t actually have to share with anyone, lol. Then I had three more kids, and all I have heard since then is fighting about who took what toy and who had a longer turn, etc. Here are some things I have found to help us deal with the sharing issue.

  1. If it is a gift to one child, that child gets one full day to play with it without having to share, but he may have to do that alone in his room to make it easier on the others.
  2. If one child has a toy that she doesn’t want anyone to touch, she must keep it put away somewhere safe and not left out. If it is left out, the other kids may play with it. We have exceptions to this rule…if a toy is breakable or not age appropriate for all kids, Mom will step in and put it away.
  3. Encourage them to ask before playing with a sibling’s toy, and remind the owner of the toy that they may want the favour returned sometime soon.
  4. When possible, assign tasks or play areas. With the castle shown in the picture, each child can take a wall to colour. If they are building with Lego, they can each be assigned a section of the project. If they are playing make believe, they can rotate “roles”.
  5. Use a timer and give each child an allotted time on play. This is particularly helpful with electronics because kids always think they “just started” a video game or turn on the tablet.
  6. Praise them when they do share…play it up and watch how quickly the other children decide to share too.
  7. When all else fails, remove the toy/game they are fighting over. Put the toy in “time out” and leave it there until they reach an agreement that works for everyone (it could be there awhile).


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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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