Q: How can I avoid the inevitable toy tug-of-war during play dates?
A: Toddlers are particularly prone to play-date struggles over toys, as their world is very self-centric and they do not quite grasp the idea of sharing. Keep in mind that this is completely normal and does not mean that you have a selfish child. Before the play-date you might ask your child if there are any special toys that she/he does not want to share with friends and then put them out of sight for the duration. You can model sharing with your children by asking if they would like a turn with a particular item or toy, and demonstrating how to ask for a chance to play with a particular item. Should a struggle arise, be sure to correct the behavior and not the child, to keep a positive sense of self-esteem and to acknowledge the action. Also make an extra effort to point out when sharing happens naturally and reinforce positive actions.
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