Imagine this- your child has 4 or 5 toys in their room. They play with their two favorite toys, whereas they neglect the rest two. When their friends arrive, they will play with neglected toys. What happens then? Your child will take that toy and wish to play with it. The laughter and delight of both the children will then be replaced with screams, tantrums, and crying. Sounds familiar? This is what every toddler does.
To explain that “sharing is caring”, the child will never understand it. For them to understand the word share, it is also quite foreign. Then, parents read many books to teach child to share, but the next time someone touches their toy, the history will repeat itself. The child always wants what others have, and what is “mine” should always stay “mine” and it will be nobody else’s item.
If you want to know how to teach sharing to child, then read on as I have listed the 10 ways to teach your child sharing with their friends and loved ones.
Ways to teach your child to share:
1. Start young
Since the time your child can hold objects and learn to play with them, sharing for children must be taught to them. You can take their toy and pass it amongst each other by saying “my turn “and “your turn”. This will help the child to learn that they can play in turns with the same toy if they share it.
2. Role model
Children start imitating their models, i.e. their parents from a young age. You will often notice that they will sit the way you sit, they will eat the way you eat, etc. If you are wondering how to teach a child to share, then you can ask them to share the couch for cuddling or talking. Take some food on the dish, pass them a spoon, and dig in together. Before you eat, tell them “let’s share the food today”.
When you invent games for children to play with their friends, make games that don’t have just one winner. For teaching sharing to children, you can make games that will have multiple winners, or a team will win. Competition is good, but deciding winners is not a healthy habit for children below 3 years. When they will learn to share their win, they will experience the victory together.
How to Teach a Child to Share
The biggest problem when it comes to sharing with children is that they cannot part away with personal toys and objects. This is why have a timer on their playdate. When the timer will ring it will be time for the children to part with their toys and play with their friend’s toy. This will help your child to understand how sharing takes place and will form a habit of the same.
5. Descriptive praise
Praise is a good way to condition a good habit in your child. When you are to teach a child to share, they will eventually end up sharing with their friend. When they do so, parents praise their children with a common phrase such as “you are a good boy or girl”. Rather than such a general phrase, use descriptive praise. An example will be “did you see how happy was your friend was when you shared your toy with them?” this will help them to empathize with others and understand that when they share, it makes their loved ones happy.
Instead of saying a general phrase like, “you are a good boy or girl”. Use descriptive praise like, “did you see how happy was your friend was when you shared your toy with them?”
6. Make it fun
When you think about how to teach sharing to a child, you can invest in games or makeup games that require group effort than individual games that have a single winner. The group game can be a treasure hunt, solving a puzzle together, video games that require multiple players, etc. This will help them to share their learning and play together to understand the concept of sharing.
7. No punishment
To teach a toddler to share, it is not a continuous growth. One day your child will share their toy, whereas the other time they will snatch a toy from their friend’s hand. It can be quite embarrassing when your child creates tantrums over sharing in front of others, and parents often punish them. But remember, you are not trying to force them to share, rather teaching them an important life skill. You can sit them down and explain sharing, why it is important, etc.
Remember! You are not trying to force them to share, rather teaching them an important life skill.
8. Explain calmly
It can be daunting to think over how to teach sharing to toddlers, and at times the situation gets heated between the two children over sharing a toy, and they may scream and bite or hit each other. At such times, take your child away from the situation. Let them calm down by playing and talking with you. Then calmly explain to them how bad their friend felt when your child asked to share something. Explaining other’s feelings will help them to understand empathy from a young age and expedite the learning on sharing.
When your child and his or her friend are clutching their hands over the same doll, the idea of sharing is far from their mind. In such cases, you can solve the problem via sharing, yet quite not so. For example, rather than directly engaging in sharing with toddlers, you can use a technique of a kitchen timer wherein for a specific time your child will play with the doll, and when the time is up, their friend gets the chance to play with the same.
10. Respect and sharing
One of the biggest reasons a toddler is reluctant to share is because they feel that their belonging will either get lost or spoiled. When their friends borrow their books, they may scribble in it, and when they borrow the crayons, they may break the same. Hence, you should first ask your child if he or she is willing to give it to their friend, sibling, or cousin. If they say yes, ask the borrower to respect their belonging and not to knowingly damage it. This will help you when you are pondering over how to teach toddlers to share the next time.
Sharing with the toddler gets easier with time. When they will see that after sharing their loved ones get happy, they can be a better friend, and the item is not ruined, they will be keener on sharing and will heed to your encouragement when you ask them to share something with their friends and family. This quality of sharing will be valuable to them when they grow up too.