My daughter is 3 years old and we live right above her daycare, so naturally we host many playdates. Before the playdate my daughter tells me how excited she is to see her friends and show them her toys. But the second they come over something changes. As her 3-year-old peers empty out every single toy bin in the house, my daughter starts to get upset—the blue crown is HERS. That Elsa doll is HERS. How DARE they touch BUNNY?! Some grabbing, pushing and tantrums ensue, and I’m left feeling like a failure. We were supposed to host this super fun play date and now my daughter is marching around with her arms crossed shouting at everyone?!
Once the tears calm down, and my daughter has conveniently made a throne of all the toys from which she won’t budge, I apologize to the other moms. The kids go home, and I look at my daughter: She’s upset and I am too. These moms probably think my kid is a brat, or even worse—what if they think I’m a bad mom who can’t discipline her child and teach her proper sharing manners?!
I start to spiral and then think to myself—wait a minute. If I was hosting a dinner party and all my friends started going through my stuff I’d be a little pissed too. Could you imagine if every time you had your adult friends over they went into your bedroom and took out all of your things and tried them on?! Why do we force our kids to share? Isn't it OK to sometimes NOT share? Well, folks, I’m saying yes. Go ahead and don't share.
I reached out to my mom friends to ask their thoughts on the subject. My friend Jen deals with this on a daily basis as her two boys ages 3 years and 20 months are constantly fighting over toys.