Wouldn’t it be nice if you could remove the word “mine” from your child’s vocabulary. Unfortunately, you can’t, and your child will use the word “mine” often.
It seems as if children instinctively don’t like sharing their toys with friends or family members, even if they’re not playing with that said toy at the moment. But you know that you cannot allow your child to hoard all the toys, and you know that you cannot allow them to scream and cry and throw a fit just because someone else wants to use something of theirs. This is why it’s important to teach your child how to share, and even though it may seem like a challenge, the following five tips are great ways to help your child learn how to share.
1. Start early.
There’s no appropriate age to teach your child how to share, but the earlier you start, the better it will be. Teaching a younger child to share will prove easier because the child doesn’t know any better. They’ll think of sharing as a part of their everyday routine, and this can help it be successful. If you wait until your child is much older to teach them about sharing, you’ll now have to break the habit of not sharing, and this can be harder to do.
2. Show them.
Your child mimics what they see, so if they see that you or your family members are never sharing their possessions, it will make your child less likely to do the same. Instead, make sure that you’re showing your child how to share. Make sure that you share things with your child, whether it’s food or a possession, and make sure that your child sees other members of your family sharing. This will help them realize that sharing is an appropriate way to act, and your child will be more willing to share if they see you doing it.
3. Praise them for sharing.
When your child does share, praise their actions. Give them lots of hugs and kisses, tell them that you’re proud of them, and even do a dance. It doesn’t matter if you look or act silly, your child will enjoy all the attention, and knowing that sharing made you so happy can be all it takes to get them to share on a regular basis.
4. Talk to them.
You may also need to talk to your child about the importance of sharing. Make sure that you tell them that sharing their belongings makes other people feel happy, and let them know that when they don’t share, it makes others feel sad. Your child knows the difference between being happy and sad, and if they know how bad they felt when they were sad, they may not want to make someone else feel that way.
5. Take baby steps.
If your child is having a play date, pick out a few toys for the kids to play with and tell your child that they’ll have to share those toys. If your child has certain toys that they absolutely love, you may want to put them away for the playdate. Eventually, you’ll have to allow your child to share those toys too, but by starting with a smaller group of toys, you can ease your child into sharing by showing them that nothing bad will happen to their toys if someone else plays with them.
Stacey Margaret is a freelance writer and mother who loves to share her experience and tips on toddler training with new parents through her blog.