Helpful Tips on Teaching Children to Share
"No, this one!"
"Give me my block."
These are all common things to hear from your child. When children are just starting out in the world of sharing and collaboration, they need support as well as fun activities that will help them understand these new concepts easier; read on for tips about how you can make these processes go smoother (and faster) between everyone involved.
Here are ways that can help teach your children to share:
1. Seek out social situations. Take a playground or children’s museum adventure and encourage your child to share sandbox toys with others, take turns on the swing set, or work in groups for science projects!
2. Share more with your child. Model the behavior by sharing a favorite spot on the couch or bringing home something special from work!
3. Take turns. Start with a quick back-and forth, such as rolling or tossing the ball to teach your child how taking turns works -you can even say "your turn" and “my turn” whenever each of you has it! Board games are great for teaching this skill too because they will need to remember whose turn comes first.
4. Read books about sharing. Books about sharing are always great to read, and can be a really fun activity for kids. As you go through the story with your child ask them what they think will happen next, How does this character feel in their situation, and what they should do.
5. Food. For example, on pizza night, work together to divide everything equally and give one slice of pizza to each person. At breakfast time, ask your child put five strawberries on their plate and for all the other people in the house-- not only does this help reinforce sharing but it's also a great math activity!
6. Make music with your child. Tap out a tune on the xylophone and encourage them to take turns playing the drums or the tambourine too! You can also work together counting each beat as you use instruments at the same time.
7. Build stuff. Create a strategy ahead of time and take turns arranging or stacking blocks. building can also be turned into a game like Jenga!
8. Clean up time. Cleaning can be fun! You can take turns putting toys back into the basket and share the task of folding dress-up clothes. See who gets their stuffed animals in fastest or beat a timer by working together as a team.
9. Designate "fair game" and "off limits" toys. If there are certain special toys that your child is uncomfortable sharing with others, put them away before friends come over - or be sure to work with them ahead of time by designating which ones will be fair game for all the children in a playdate (e.g., teddy bear vs stuffed animal). For popular items everyone wants access too you might need set-up timers so each person has their own turn playing and not feeling left out.
10. Let your child and friends figure out a solution themselves. It's always best to let kids learn how solve problems on their own before offering any advice or jumping into the argument. Listen closely if they're trying reach an agreement; help them understand that compromise will get everyone what he/she wants without too much hassle, by encouraging time limits and taking turns when possible
11. Point out the positives of sharing. When your child does a good job of sharing with their friends, make it known by saying things like “You shared your toys - look how happy you made your friends” and "thank you for sharing your crayons with me because it helped me make this beautiful picture!"
And Lastly, Don’t forget to be patient. Learning anything new takes time, but the benefits are worth it! Offer your child support and coaching along the way so they can learn a life-long skill that will set them up for future success.