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The Art of Sharing

We've all been there: You're sitting on the edge of the sandbox watching your 2-year-old play with another toddler. Everything's peaceful until the other child takes her shovel and demands a turn. While you're urging your daughter to share, she's equally adamant about keeping the shovel to herself; before you know it, the sandbox play has erupted into a tearful tug-of-war. What's a parent to do?

For most kids, sharing doesn't come easily — it's much more natural for them to cling to a shovel than it is to give it up with a smile. But since sharing is integral to living with others, experts advise that parents introduce the concept early and consistently reinforce it.

Kathryn E. Livingston, a mother of three, is coauthor of Parenting Partners.