Children have a difficult time sharing their things, especially when they are young. Learning how to share is a very important part of the growing process. Children need to learn how good it feels to give and that it’s fun to share with friends and family.
Don’t scold your child if they don’t immediately know that they need to share. Children have a tendency to get attached to things and people. Teaching them to share can be a difficult task, and it requires a lot of patience. You need to try and understand why your child might not want to share and take it from there.
Here are a few tips to help your child learn the importance of sharing:
1. Don’t force a child to share: To you the toys don’t mean much, but to a child they are his prized possessions. Instead of insisting that they share all their things try and create an environment that encourages your child to share.
2. Take them or invite their friends for play dates: Let them plan ahead and choose some of their favorite things to share before the other children arrive.
3. Teach them how to take turns: Tell them that they can play with a toy for a while, but they will have to give it to someone else after some time. Take the children to a park with swings.
4. Be firm with them: Tell them that they will not get what they want if they don’t learn how to share.
5. Sharing requires empathy: Children find it difficult to show true empathy under the age of six. So don’t be harsh if they do not learn immediately. Be kind and generous yourself, and the child will eventually learn.
6. There are some things the child will never want to share: There is always a blanket or a toy that a child is extremely attached to. Don’t expect them to share that.
7. Let them learn themselves: If a child is does not share his things with other children or grabs a lot then children won’t want to play with him. He will automatically start sharing so he can make friends.
8. Play games: Incorporate rules that require the child to share or take turns when playing with them. Children remember what they have learned through play than what they learn through lectures.
9. Teach by example: When you are giving something to someone make it a teachable moment. For e.g. While returning something to your partner say “Mom is sharing this with dad.” or “Look, dad and mom are sharing this popcorn while we watch a movie.”
10. Be the bystander: Sometimes what they learn on their own has a more lasting impact than what you try to teach them. Give children space to work it out amongst themselves. Don’t go running to stop every fight your child gets into.
A child gives as he is given to. Teach your child to communicate his needs to his friends. If the child is fighting with his sibling, don’t take sides. Just take away the thing causing the argument so no one wins. The child may sulk at first, but will forget about it soon.
Learn to respect the attachment the child has with his things. At the same time teach them that sharing is very important. Show them how happy the other person becomes when they share. They will start sharing just to see a smile on the other person’s face. 🙂