Sharing is such a big concept in early childhood. You’ll often hear parents asking their kids to share everything from toys, to play equipment to food with other kids, often kids that are complete strangers.
In the Montessori method we don’t ask children to share as we value the fact that the child is doing very important work with their materials and this must not be disrupted. Neuroscience and other parenting methodologies in recent times also back up this view as toddlers are simply too young to have empathy and can’t understand the concept of sharing.
If you look deeply at what sharing is expecting children to do, it is in fact telling children to give up something as soon as an adult or child asks for it. To the child that wants the toy, it’s showing they can get what they want, when they want it. To the child that has to share the toy it’s showing that their work with it is not important and they must give it up.
Instead of sharing we work on taking turns instead. If a child wants something Havvie has, then I ask the child to wait until Havvie is done and if they wish they can choose another toy to use in the meantime. The same thing applies to Havvie when she wants something someone else has.
This works immensely well and I’ve seen Havvie show great amounts of patience in waiting her turn. Patience is a great life skill to learn and shows we can’t simply take things off people. It also shows Havvie that I respect what she’s working on and she’s free to use the material as long as she wishes without interruption. Sharing is a lesson that I will work with Havvie on over time, mainly when she has the ability to show empathy.