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Teaching children to share

Teaching children to share
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Sharing is a life skill that we all want our kids to have. But, as a skill it has to be learned. Very few children are happy to share their toys from the off. Teaching children to share can be tricky, without developing that skill life will be pretty difficult throughout childhood and beyond.

Explain why sharing is important

If you expect your child to share but she doesn’t understand why, she may begin to resent sharing. Furthermore, it can lead to a belief that other people’s happiness is more important than her own. Explain that sharing is a nice thing that friends do for each other, point out how happy it makes the other children.

Lead by example

If kids never see their parents sharing then how can they be expected to share themselves? Offer your kids a piece of something you’re eating, include him in an activity you’re doing even if it’s just housework. For things like tablets or mobile phones, make sure they see you sharing them with your partner or another adult. Even young children pick up on what’s going on around them, by sharing yourself you’ll be showing your child how to behave.

Offer praise

Praising your child when she shares, offers a ‘feel good factor’ that she will want to repeat. The more she repeats good behaviour, the more likely it is to become a habit or second nature.

Practise

Teaching children to shareSharing a favourite toy is something that can be difficult for kids. Start with things that you’re child isn’t bothered too much about, or has finished playing with. For example; encourage your child to let a friend play with a toy that she has just put down. This will demonstrate that sharing doesn’t mean your child has to go without, they’ll find it easier to share other things in the future.

Leave them to it

It can be very tempting to butt in and tell your child to share, particularly when there are other parents watching an exchange. However, getting involved isn’t always the best way to deal with a child not wanting to share. Learning how to negotiate and deal with conflict is an important part of a child’s development. Obviously, if the kids get upset then you should probably intervene; allow them the chance to come to an agreement on their own.

Public and private property

Teaching the difference between public and private property can go a long way in letting kids know when they must share. In a public play park or a toddler playgroup, the apparatus and toys are for every child to use. Kids need to share them to make sure everyone gets a fair turn. However, a child’s own toys belong to her and, while it is nice to share with other people, she has the choice whether or not to allow someone to join in and play with her toy.

Coping with disappointment

Of course, children shouldn’t be forced to share. If they are playing with something, they have every right to continue until either; they have finished or their turn is over. In this case, a child wanting to play with a toy that someone else isn’t done with, may ask to share or have a turn, the other child also has the right to refuse the request. For this reason, it’s important to teach kids that while sharing is important, it’s a nice thing to do. They shouldn’t automatically expect someone to give up a toy just because they want to play with it.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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