In my last blog I talked a bit about Aiden's [in]ability to share and I guess I didn't give him enough credit. I mean, he is a little guy who is desperately trying to hold on to the things that are dear to him. While I totally understand where he is coming from (I mean, I wouldn't want to share my blackberry or fave pair of stilettos with anyone!), I can't help but secretly wish that sharing came a bit easier for him.
I remember one time (well actually, several times... well actually, almost every day of the week), when I dropped Aiden off at pre-school and his classmates were engaged in a free play activity, he spotted his friend playing with a car. As soon as he spotted the car, Aiden yelled, "mine! my car!" But since his friend was playing with it, I tried to explain to Aiden that he couldn't play with it because his friend had it first. EPIC FAIL! Aiden was not trying to hear me. Enter meltdown. In an effort to avoid another meltdown, the next day Aiden's teacher saved that exact same car for him. When she placed it in his hand, he thanked her while grinning from ear to ear. Until he spotted his friend playing with a fire truck. Then he yelled, "mine! my fire truck!"
So after reading my last blog (hey if I don't read 'em, who else will?), I realized that I totally left you guys hanging, meaning that I didn't leave you with some fabulous piece of advice to help you get through this stage safely and sanely. I work at an Early Childhood Development Center in NYC and in our office, there is a sheet called The Toddler Property Laws that I thought I'd share with you guys. It really helps me understand this stage that Aiden is going through. Here it is:
Toddler Property Laws
- If I like it, it's mine.
- If it's in my hand, it's mine.
- If I can take it from you, it's mine.
- If I had it a while ago, it's mine.
- If it's mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
- If I'm doing or building something, all the pieces are mine.
- If it looks just like mine, it's mine.
- If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
- If I saw it first, it's mine.
- If it's broken, it's yours. Nope. The pieces are probably still mine!
Funny, right? But while it might be comical, it's also pretty accurate. And now when I drop Aiden off at pre-school in the morning, and he spots something that he desperately wants to play with, I pick my battles and try to encourage turn-taking between him and his peers, instead of sharing. This works better. I have found that saying, "Aiden, when he is finished, then it will be your turn," works wonders because Aiden understands that he will get a turn to play with the toy, and his friends understands that they will not have to give up their toys permanently. It's just temporary. It also works the other way around. If Aiden is playing with somethng that one of his friends want to play with, I say the same thing. And they understand that with turn-taking their fave toy will be returned to them. This makes them much more willing to give up the toy.
Hope this helps a little. Happy sharing... I mean, turn-taking!