Every kid has to learn to share, but when you’re a multiple, the sharing begins long before you’re even born. My own experience was quite different. I grew up an only child, and while I was required to share toys and materials at daycare and school, when I went home and walked into my room, everything was mine. But that isn’t the case for my kids. At 20 months old, my kids have very few things that are their own personal belongings. We have tons of books and more than enough toys, and the expectation is that they will share them.
However, in the last month or so, both my son (Buba) and my daughter (Tiny) have started to develop preferences for certain items. They have favorite books, favorite toys, and favorite stuffed animals. And each child considers these favorites as belonging to him or her. Heaven help us if Buba wants to play with the stuffed monkey that Tiny thinks belongs to her. And we’re sure to hear about it if Tiny dares to push around the choo-choo that Buba likes best.
I try explaining in the simplest ways that we share toys and take turns, and sometimes that’s enough to hold one of them off for a few minutes. But more often then not, the word share precedes a lot of screaming and crying. And what blows me away is the way it all goes down. For example, Tiny is in the kitchen quietly reading books to the stuffed monkey while Bubba is in the living room playing with the wire and bead toy. Then Buba decides to grab the teapot and come to the kitchen to play. Tiny will shriek and shout, “share! share!” (Translation= That’s mine give it to me!) When I tell tiny that it’s Buba’s turn, she goes into a major meltdown as though I’ve just given away the thing that matters most to her. And we go through situations like these several times a day.
So what I’m wondering is this: Given that they have to share so much and will have to share so much for at least the next 17 years would it help matters if they each had a few items that we enforced as being their own personal belongings? Or at this young age, would that only make things worse?
How does it work at your house? Do your kids possess specific toys of their own? And how do you help your kids learn what sharing and turn taking are all about?