My Kid Has to Share and So Should Yours


Recently, I attended a play date with my toddler. I was chatting with another mom when I noticed my son go for a toy that was not being played with. Suddenly, I heard another mother I don’t know well say, “Honey, that’s not yours and we’re not sharing today.” My inner mama bear went nuts, but I dug deep for social skills and ushered my confused son to another area.

When did it become optional to share?

I calmed myself (or rather my best friend did on the phone in the car) as I lamented about the nerve of that mother. Don’t get me wrong, sharing to me is NOT when your kid has to give up his/her toy just because my kid wants it. It is not a free for all. Turns and respect are important. I don’t want to raise a bully or a doormat. This is also not to say that children cannot have special things that are just theirs, say a security blanket or bear. But if it’s that special, leave it at home.

I believe that when friends come over, when we play at the park, when we attend play dates, what we bring is fair game to anyone. I as the (in theory) adult with a fully developed frontal lobe, am the one who mediates disputes. If my child (or yours) is actively playing with a toy, it’s his or her turn for a reasonable amount of time such as few minutes. Phone timers are great for this. Then it’s time to share. And abandoned toys are always fair game. Once it hits the floor, its no longer yours.

This is so challenging because sharing kind of sucks.

We all have an innate desire to be selfish. Young children show us outwardly behavior that can be taboo as an adult, but is usually hiding just below the surface. I believe it’s in these formative years where we have a responsibility to teach the difference between self-care and selfishness. I know these moments have made me take a hard look at myself and I have often not been impressed with my own selfish tendencies. Oh the joys of parenting!

I get frustrated when I hear so many complaints about the entitlement of millennials since I am, after all, a member of that group. But what are we actively doing to combat that stereotype? My children are amazing little people and the apples of mine and my husband’s eyes. They are God’s gift to us and I want them to show their gifts to the world. Not expect gifts from the world.

We are in an age now where academic environments start in school immediately after potty training. Where play is looked down upon compared to worksheets to “get ahead” and “excel”. As parents, in my humble opinion, our main job is to raise good, kind humans who have something to offer in this world, and that may start at a play date. We are doing themselves and our future a massive disservice by downplaying kindness and basic social skills through play.

After all, sharing is caring.

Be Grateful….OR ELSE! {Raising Thankful Kids in an Entitled World}



  1. I agree that saying ‘We’re not sharing today’ is absolutely ridiculous. Like you, I think if it’s special enough to not share, you should leave it at home. I do, however, disagree with the parents getting involved to the degree of determining what is a reasonable amount of time to play with your own toy. Like you said, once the toy hits the floor, it’s fair game!

    I could not agree more with your statement, ‘As parents, in my humble opinion, our main job is to raise good, kind humans who have something to offer in this world.’ Thanks for the post!

  2. As you said–you don’t know the mom well, or why she made that comment. Just because a child brings a toy to an environment does not mean they have to share it even if that toy is not ‘actively being used’. Security or special toys are just that–for security, and they should be allowed to bring their security outside of the home.

    Personally, as a mom of a girl, I think it’s extremely important for kids to be taught that they can choose their boundaries, they can choose what of theirs others may use and they should be taught that they can say no to others. It doesn’t promote selfishness, it promotes good self care and healthy setting of boundaries. Little girls (and boys) should learn that their ‘no’ should be respected, even if someone else wanted a different outcome.

    As teens and young adults, we would want our children to ask before touching someone or something else, and we would want them to be able to make a strong decision and be clear to others what that decision was. We would want that decision to be respected by the other person. Sharing toys is the kid version of this and should not be forced.

    In my opinion, what would have been most appropriate here would be for your son to ask the other child if he could use their toy, and for the other child to be able to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Both kids could then gain practice in this very important skill and be supported by you and the other mom in their reactions to it.


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