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# 30.9.5: Reducing Excessive Requirements for "Sharing"

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## Reducing Excessive Requirements For “Sharing”

At around one year of age, infants begin to demonstrate the ability for social sharing, a foundational aspect of developing social skills. This is often observed through actions like handing an object to a caregiver and then taking it back, an early form of interactive play. In a typical scenario involving two toddlers tugging on the same toy, the caregiver plays a crucial role, not as an intervener but as a narrator who articulates the unfolding social dynamics.

For instance, when two children, let us say, Angelica and Tanisha, tug on the same toy, the caregiver's role is to give words to their actions. By saying, “You both want the toy. Angelica wants the toy, and Tanisha wants it too. You are both pulling on it,”  the caregiver does more than just describe the scene. This narration helps them to recognize and begin to understand their actions and feelings as well as those of others. It is a way of teaching about perspective-taking and empathy, laying the groundwork for more complex social interactions as they grow.

### Definition: Perspective Taking

The ability to understand and consider someone else's viewpoint or feelings.

Supporting toddlers involves more than enforcing turn-taking; it is about nurturing their understanding of ownership, empathy, and patience. When a toddler insists on having a toy, simply imposing a time limit can lead to distress. This is because toddlers often view their possessions as extensions of themselves. Therefore, encouraging voluntary turn-taking is more beneficial than compelling them to relinquish a toy after a certain period. This approach respects their sense of ownership and autonomy while subtly introducing the concept of turn-taking.

### Definition: Empathy

The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

##### Definition: Autonomy

Independence or freedom of will

As toddlers develop, they start learning the skill of waiting, a key component of social and emotional self-regulation. Unlike infants, who require immediate attention to their needs, toddlers can begin to grasp the concept of delayed gratification. However, this ability is not innate and needs to be supported in its natural maturation. Acknowledging a toddler's difficulty with waiting is crucial. For instance, when a child eagerly awaits their turn for a toy, empathizing with their impatience and suggesting alternative activities can be effective. Phrases like “I understand waiting for the toy is hard; let’s find something to do while you wait” validate their feelings and teach patience [1]. Visual aids, such as a waiting list, can also be instrumental. Allowing toddlers to make a mark on a paper to symbolize their turn can provide a tangible and visual cue, helping them understand and cope with waiting [2].

The caregiver’s role as a conflict negotiator becomes crucial when conflict arises. The first step is acknowledging each child’s feelings, like saying, “I understand you both want the wagon.” Ensuring that neither child prematurely gains possession of the contested item is important. Explaining actions like, “I will hold the wagon while you decide who plays with it,” helps teach conflict resolution skills. Sometimes, natural resolution occurs when one child loses interest, allowing the other child to play with the toy. This method of conflict resolution allows toddlers to make their own decisions and learn from the outcome. It is essential for caregivers to patiently wait for this resolution, as it promotes the toddler's ability to solve problems independently.

Respecting toddlers as individuals with their own rights and feelings is crucial. This means honoring commitments and teaching them about fairness and respect for others. If a toddler is promised a turn with a toy, ensuring this promise is kept is fundamental to building trust and understanding in a classroom environment.

## Attributions:

• [1] Maanao French, V. (2013, February). Supporting children with challenging behavior. AIAN Education Manager Webinar Series. National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning, Seattle, WA Public Domain
• [2] Maanao French, V. (2013, February). Supporting children with challenging behavior. AIAN Education Manager Webinar Series. National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning, Seattle, WA Public Domain

30.9.5: Reducing Excessive Requirements for "Sharing" is shared under a mixed license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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