Teach your child to share
Sharing is an important concept for children to understand. When the child is around 2 years is when parents normally try to make the toddler understand the importance of sharing. However children usually meet this effort with resistance and children do have problems with sharing even when they are as old as 10 years, which is why it is good to have a healthy, early start to the sharing concept.
Here are some tips and methods to help you get started on making your toddler understand how to share and to make the process easier for him/her:
- Sharing might not come easily to your child at first. They are still very self-centred in their needs and might not understand the concept of giving what’s theirs to someone else. Which is why it is better to start of small and within the family at first. You can ask your toddler to share his cookie or chips with his sibling or parent.
- If the above doesn’t work then another start is by modelling the desired behaviour. Share something of yours with your child like your pen or your cookie and point it out to your child how you are sharing your possession with them and how good it feels.
- Some toys or objects are completely out of bounds and are very special to children so it is not realistic to expect them to share it. Instead if you have children coming over for a play date then ask your child if there are any toys that he/she would not want others to play with. You can put away those toys during the play date and encourage your child to share his/her other toys.
- If your child is still not playing with other children directly and is still engaged in ‘parallel play’ then he might not be in the social stage of giving up all his toys to someone else yet. This is alright because different children go through different stages of play at their own pace. However once he/she begins to play with other children then ensure that he/she knows he must share his/her toys.
- You must try to be a referee when your child is not sharing, however do not be too punitive as this will make your child feel isolated from you. Instead gently ask your child if she is ready to give others a chance to play with her toy. If he/she is not then periodically remind him/her until your child takes the initiative and gives his/her toy to someone else. Explain to him/her that others might want to play with the toy and he/she should let them. When he/she does give it over, praise him/her and applaud the effort.
- Another popular method is setting a timer for children. Show them the timer and inform them that after it buzzes then their turn with the toy is over and they need to hand it over to the next person. This trick might not work immediately or be met with enthusiasm by your children but eventually they will recognize its authority and hand over the toy without a tantrum, if you are firm about the timer from the beginning.