Three year-olds & sharing

My 3 year old has been in preschool now for 3 weeks. She loves it and can't wait to go. Today the teacher told me that she takes toys from other children.

This doesn't surprise me - I know sharing isn't easy for 3 year olds. I know how she is with her toys when friends come to play at our house. I was hoping that preschool would help her to learn how to share. I'm not sure why the teacher told me. She's very hard to read. She told me that when Jordan does take things from the other kids, she does it in a sneaky way, carefully and quietly as opposed to just grabbing what she wants. I told her I would talk to Jordan because I didn't know what to say. She said all of the kids do it, but she wasn't clear on what she expects me to do about it.

Are there any things I should do to help Jordan get the idea of sharing? Are there things I could say to her and things I shouldn't say? I realize that this problem isn't anything new in a preschool class, so I'm wondering why the teacher mentioned it at all.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Question:

Frankly, I'm also a bit surprised that your daughter's teacher mentioned the sharing problem. It is extremely common for a child not to want to share, especially so early in the school year. That's one of the main things children of three learn in school. I can't tell you the number of times I've said "In school we share" in my classroom, and we've only been in session for three weeks!

One of the main lessons that children learn during this year is that they live in a community, and they need to respect the needs and wishes of others. But Cathy, it is up to the teacher, and not you, to provide this atmosphere. You can certainly talk to your daughter about sharing in school. But it's the teacher's job to ensure that it happens by frequent attention to the situation and frequent repetition of the rule.

If the teacher mentions it again, ask her what she is doing about it. And meanwhile, don't worry. This is normal three year-old behavior.

Best of luck,
Patti Greenberg Wollman

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