Sharing what would you do?

We want our children to be kind, compassionate, and help others.  Sharing of toys is an interesting topic. I know I grew up hearing that I should “share my toys” with others.  At times, that may have been with my younger brother, friends, or cousins.  I am sure sometimes I just did not want to share.

I take a different stance with this.  I try not to make my children share their stuff.  Each of my 4 girls have special items or toys that are just theirs.  I allow my children to decide what toys they will share with others.  If there are toys that my children choose not to have out when company is at our house, I am totally fine with that.  My daughters should have control of their things in my opinion.  We as adults, have many things that are ours and we do not share with our adult friends.

Our family has house rules about toys and sharing.  If a toy is left in the open and no one is holding it, then it is fair game.  If someone is playing with a toy, we do not take it off of them.  Once the desired toy is placed on the floor and no one is holding it, then we can pick it up.  This way a child can play with a specific toy as long as their little heart desires.  I do not believe in having a child play with a toy for a certain time frame.  However, an exception to this rule is video games.  If my girls are playing a video game that is 1 player, we have to put a time limit so everyone gets a chance to play.  Even with these rules sometimes there are still hiccups.  Hey that toy you were not interested in suddenly became more desirable when your sister started playing with it.

Sometimes, you may visit a house where the “sharing rules” are different.  This can be difficult for your child and may lead to awkwardness among the adults.  For instance, we were visiting a house where a child kept accusing one of my children of not sharing.  I observed several times when my child was playing with a toy, the child wanting that toy right away.  I was proud of my 4 year old standing up for herself with the response, “No!  I was playing with that!”  Do not get me wrong, I know my child is not innocent and may have instigated or retaliated some.  I was not with her the whole time.  In discussing the difference in sharing rules with the other adult, we never decided how to handle it.

I would love to hear what you would do in this situation.