Remember the scene in Finding Nemo where the seagulls close in on the fish while squawking “mine” “mine” “mine”?
They obviously wrote that scene after witnessing a toddler’s playdate.

In the early toddler stages, learning to share with the people they know and love, is a huge feat. Convincing young toddlers to share with other kidlets at the playground, is rarely going to be a success if they haven’t yet gotten the hang of sharing with family members. At their age, they don’t trust other wee “strangers” that easily.

In the beginning, leave the lessons at home, their safe place.
That is what I know now after Tiana’s most recent playdate. As much as it was entertaining (okay and maybe a tad stressful) for the adults to watch them play the “mine” games, it wasn’t all fun and games for the two girls. The playdate definitely had it’s “Sour and Sweet” moments.


As you might’ve guessed, not ONCE did they share any toys. And there wasn’t much the adults could do about it.
By the end of the night they were arguing about whose Mommy I was. That’s when Tiana lost it and it was time to go home.

The only times we were able to diffuse the playdate power struggle, were:

1) When we made them do activities instead of playing with toys. Here they are seen happily colouring.

Photos courtesy of Brittany Bingham Photography

2) When we convinced them to swap possessions. Tiana traded Natalie’s elmo shoes for her polka dot shoes.

L photo courtesy of Beatriz Santos; R photo courtesy of Brittany Bingham Photography

3) When we directed their attention to something else. LOOK! Mama’s eating a cookie!

Thanks, Beatriz Santos, for taking this photo and blowing my cover.

Crisis averted.

I definitely recommend trying those tips when sharing gets in the way at a playdate.


I have known these girls since I was twelve…way before any of us became mothers. I can’t believe we have playdates together now. Here we are on our playdate with our beauties.

Far left photo courtesy of Beatriz Santos, middle and far right photo courtesy of Brittany Bingham Photography

It doesn’t look like either of the three kids would ever want to share their mommies. That’s just fine with us. But hopefully, they’ll be willing to share everything else someday.

Have you ever tried to avoid a sharing meltdown with the above three tips? From your experience, do you think sharing should first be mastered at home?

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6 Responses to What To Do When Toddlers Won’t Share

  1. Amy Lee says:

    I think this is a universal topic and it's one of those things where everyone will have different opinions and parenting methods. I came to the conclusion that at home if we have visitors, my 2 year old has a choice of whether she wants to share or not. If yes, all the kids get to play. If not, no body plays. When we are in public, since whatever she's playing with belongs to the community or someone else, she has to share. If she doesn't, she doesn't get to play.

    • Nat Nanton says:

      And I love hearing the different opinions! Gives me perspective. What you do with your 2 year old makes a lot of sense. I think I'll try that for phase II of teaching Tiana how to share.

    • Amy Lee says:

      Awesome =) i think the cool thing about teaching your kids to share in public is that most parents are supportive and understanding. My daughter once grabbed another kid's toy out of his hands and I had to immediately do the 'Elle, you have to wait for your turn' speech. I didn't feel the other mom judged me or my daugther for her behaviour and instead, she approached the situation with compassion, probably because she had to do the speech many times before =)

    • Nat Nanton says:

      I have yet to come across a mother who hasn't been sweet about the whole thing. It definitely helps to know that we've all been there. Great fun discussing this with you. 🙂

  2. Jessica says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! Portia is going through some sharing issues for sure right now and instead of viewing it so negatively, I think I need to jut redirect the focus. You are a very smart mama!

    • Nat Nanton says:

      O you are so welcome!! It always helps to hear that other mamas are going through the same struggles. Portia and Tiana should practice sharing together soon!!

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