“Mine!” That’s one of the first words many children learn. Sharing can be a difficult concept for kids. If your children struggle with sharing, here are some ways you can help them be more generous.
Your child may be more open to the concept of sharing if you address it with them ahead of time. You can discuss possible scenarios with them, and how they should react. For example, you can say “If Mary wants to play with your teddy bear, what’s the best thing to do? What is kind?” Talking it through with them beforehand may help them feel more prepared when they encounter the situation. Good teaching also comes from example. Share with your child as well. For example, if you are having a snack, ask them if they would like a portion of it. Show them that sharing can be a fun thing!
One of the most efficient ways to teach sharing is by encouraging children to take turns. This strategy can teach some important lessons to both children involved. The child who wants the toy learns to be patient and gracious. The child who has to share learns to appreciate the time they have with their toy, and that everyone has to take turns. To prepare for these scenarios, have a timer with you on playdates. Or, you can encourage the child to play with the toy till they feel done, and then they can give it to someone else. When your children do share, praise and encourage them!
This article suggests that encouragement is more effective than forcing a child to share. If they feel that they are the ones ultimately initiating the sharing process, they may be more likely to want to do it again. You can also help your child designate some specific special toys that they aren’t expected to share. For example, if there is a keepsake or certain stuffed animal they especially prize, you can establish with them that this is not something they have to share. However, you should also establish which toys are expected to be shared.
Sharing can take a while to learn. If it’s challenging, keep trying! Children will learn the concept eventually, and it will benefit them. Encourage them and praise them when it finally clicks!