How to teach your child to share things

How to teach your child to share things

Sharing is caring! Sharing things is one of the vital life skills that every parent should know while raising a child. 

Sharing is a crucial skill for children given that it teaches them about turn-taking, negotiation, collaboration and cooperation skills, which are critical skills that are required for later success in life.

Here are a few comforting things that I learned along the way, as well as some great, actionable tips you can use to help your toddler learn to share!

Start young.

 From the time your child can grasp an object, you can teach sharing by passing the object back and forth while saying “my turn, your turn.” Mann says, “Learning how to take turns is the first step in sharing.

Get connected

A child gives as he is given to. We have observed that children who received attachment parenting during the first two years are more likely to become sharing children in the years to come, for two reasons. Children who have been on the receiving end of generosity follow the model they’ve been given and become generous persons themselves. Also, a child who feels right is more likely to share. An attachment-parented child is more likely to have a secure self-image. He needs fewer things to validate his self-worth. In taking a poll of attachment- parented children in our practice, we found they needed fewer attachment objects. They are more likely to reach for their mother’s hand than cling to a blanket.

Be a good example yourself

Just as finding examples of sharing behaviour your child can relate to, it can be extremely helpful for your toddler to see his caregivers sharing as well. 

To make sure he or she notices your sharing behaviours, you can mention them to your child!

Bring a pocket timer to playdates. 

When it rings, it’s your child’s turn to give a toy to her friend, then she gets it back once the timer rings again, and so on. Research shows “They start learning that giving something away isn’t for always,” (Remember to give the other child’s parent a heads-up before the playdate, to ensure they’re on board.)

Give your child opportunities to share

To encourage sharing, just let your child’s instinct to learn it by herself. Oftentimes, you can teach values to your younger children by using older children as models. In this case, both the teacher and the student got a lesson in values.

Affirm and clarify their feelings 

When your toddler is having a hard time sharing, take a moment to acknowledge his or her feelings. 

Also, make sure your toddler understands that sharing is only a temporary arrangement. 

You could say something like, “I know you really love your race cars, and it can be hard to share. But Ella will be sure to give them back when she’s done.” Teach your child that happiness can also be shared.


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