Learning to share can be a challenge for young children, but sharing is a skill they need for play and learning throughout childhood. You can help your child learn to share by giving her plenty of time and opportunities to practise. Praise and encouragement for good sharing will help too.
Why sharing is important
Sharing is a vital life skill. It’s something toddlers and children need to learn to make and keep friends and play cooperatively.
Once your child starts having playdates and going to child care, preschool or kindergarten, he’ll need to be able to share with others.
Helping your child learn about sharing
Children learn a lot from just watching what their parents do. When you model good sharing and turn-taking in your family, it gives your children a great example to follow.
Children also need opportunities to learn about and practise sharing. Here are some ways to encourage sharing in everyday life:
Point out good sharing in others. You can say things like, ‘Your friend was sharing her toys really well. That was very kind of her’.
When you see your child trying to share or take turns, make sure you give lots of praise and attention. For example, ‘I liked the way you let Aziz play with your train. Great sharing!’
Play games with your child that involve sharing and turn-taking. Talk your child through the steps, saying things like, ‘Now it’s my turn to build the tower, then it’s your turn. You share the red blocks with me, and I’ll share the green blocks with you’.
Talk to your child about sharing before she goes on playdates with other children. For example, you could say, ‘When Georgia comes over, you’ll need to share some of your toys. Why don’t we ask her what she wants to play with?’ You can also talk to your child about sharing before heading off to child care or preschool.
Although it’s important to share, there are some toys that children can keep for themselves. It’s a good idea to put away these special toys when other children come to play at your house. This can help you avoid problems with sharing.
Brogle, B., Jiron, A., & Giacomini, J. (2016). Sharing and Learning to Share. Raising Children Network [Online]. Available: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/sharing.html/context/568 [Feb.05, 2016]