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Karen Brennan
  • Karen Brennan

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Why toddlers and young children can’t share

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hello and welcome/welcome back!  I hope that your holidays were wonderful.  And I wish you a joyful, healthy 2015, too.

We will begin this winter session reading Chapter 5, “Helping your Toddler’s Development” in You Are Your Child’s First Teacher.  Please don’t worry if you are behind.  And please feel free to bring questions or comments from whatever part of the book you are reading—or other questions, too.  I am looking forward to sharing these next few weeks with you.  We will be crocheting throughout this session, although it will take us a week or two to get started.  I am planning for us to make children’s hats, but if there is something else you would like to make, let me know and we’ll see what we can figure out. If you already know how to crochet, you can, of course, make whatever you want—and I hope that you will help our new crocheters, too.

In Chapter 5, Rahima tells us that our main task for the one to two year old is to foster balanced development of the child’s physical, emotional and intellectual abilities.  Giving the child the opportunity to practice new motor skills and to explore the environment, and time with parents or other primary caregivers are the main things the young child needs.  Near the beginning of the chapter, she says, “positive social interaction among two-year-olds is not very common.  Their unconscious need to imitate means that one toddler wants whatever interesting thing the other has, and they usually lack the social skills to play together.”  The young child doesn’t understand sharing.  Developing strong attachments to parents and then to things is an important part of a child’s emotional development.  True sharing requires empathy, which doesn’t really develop until around the age of six.  Dr. Sears says, “Children under two are into parallel play—playing alongside other children, but not with them.  They care about themselves and their possessions and do not think about what the other child wants or feels.  But, given guidance and generosity, the selfish two-year-old can become a generous three or four-year-old.”  We can help the child to wait for their turn and accept that they are acting appropriately for their age—we can learn to wait, too!

Next week, we’ll talk about dealing with negative behavior—pages 96-99.  Feel free to bring your questions, comments, advice or whatever.