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Teaching your child to share

what parents can do to support their children's learning

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Teaching your child to share can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. The ability to break up squabbles between siblings or other children is in every parent’s repertoire, but no sooner have you resolved argument over a toy or game, you’re saying ‘ please play nicely’  again for the umpteenth time! For some children, they may happily want to share out their sweets with friends or enjoy their favourite game with their brother or sister, but for other’s learning to share can be a challenging concept to grasp.

Children camping

Sharing is fun

Younger children often find it difficult to understand time and watching their friends take turn playing with their favourite toy might seem like an age, so its important to teach them that sharing can be fun! You may want to start with activities that involve more than one person, so do a jigsaw or game where you can take turns. Start with just you and your child and then involve other children. This activity will start to give your child a sense of achievement through teamwork. You could then start to give them something specifically to give to other children, like stickers, so they can start to understand that sometimes it feels better to give than to receive.

Check with them first

If you know your child is going to be faced with a situation where they will have to share, ask them beforehand if there is anything really special that they would rather keep safe. Put those out of reach and find other games that are more fun to play with someone else. Building blocks, board games or craft based activities instill a sense of sharing without them feeling they are sacrificing their belongings.teaching your child to share

If your child is having a friend over, suggest they bring some of their toys as well. This teaches your child that their friend is prepared to share some exciting new toys and they might want to share some of your child’s toys in return. Your child will soon learn that if they share, their friends are more likely to share, opening up a whole world of new toy potentials!

Respect their belongings

If your child can see or is worried that their possessions are being mistreated, chances are they are going to become more possessive of them. Ensure that siblings and friends treat your child’s toys with respect by asking to borrow first and treating them with care. If your child knows that you are there to ensure his or her things are being taken care of, they will build their trust in you and be more likely to share in future.

Find out what is special

When your child has becoming particularly possessive over an object, try and find out what is so special about it, the same applies if your child is wanting something that another child isn’t wanting to give up. It might be that their toy car was a special birthday present or the train was the last one in the shop. Talk to them, explaining to each other why that toy is so important and the reasons they might not want to share that specific toy. You might suggest something else they can both play with together and set a timer so they learn to take turns.

Employer supported childcare

Lead by example

Try not to punish possessiveness, forcing the toy over and disciplining when they don’t share tends to lead to resentment rather than generosity. Reward good behaviour and lead by example, sharing your own possessions with them. Involve them in household activities, share your ice-cream or loan your scarfs to make a den with, showing them that mummies and daddies share too!



About Rebecca Robinson

About Rebecca Robinson

After spending the last 8 years juggling life as a mum of two, wife and working full time as a Project Manager for a global telecommunications company, Rebecca Robinson made the decision to follow her love of writing and took the plunge; turning her passion into a full time career. Since becoming a full time writer, Rebecca has worked with various media and copy-writing companies and with the ability to make any topic relevant and interesting to the reader, now contributes to The Working Parent on articles ranging from credit cards to teenage relationships. Ever the optimist, Rebecca's dreams for the future include a house in the country filled with children, dogs and horses in the field!

Website: Rebecca Robinson

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