Sharing can be a difficult concept to teach your child. If you have a little one who’s a stubborn sharer, these suggestions can help you show him that sharing his time, gifts, and belongings with others is another way that we can share God’s love.
There’s no better time to introduce sharing to your child than when she starts grasping toys on her own. During playtime, take turns passing toys back and forth. This is the first step in getting your child acclimated to sharing! Show her that it makes you happy when she lets you play with her toy, and remind her how exciting it is that she gets a turn to play with your toy, too.
Talk About Feelings
Sometimes, the best method is to simply ask him why he doesn’t like to share. You’ll find that he may be afraid he won’t get his turn or worried that he won’t get his toy back. By questioning your child about his reasoning, you are helping him to recognize his feelings, as well as acknowledge that they are valid.
Model Good Behavior
It’s important to show your child that you are more than happy to share not just with her, but with your spouse or any of her siblings. Offer to share a bite of your dessert, let her use your favorite blanket, or let her choose the movie on family movie night when it’s not her turn. She will notice your joy in sharing with her and follow your lead!
Participation Over Competition
Competition can be a healthy concept to introduce to older children, but for younger children, it’s best to play games that don’t involve a single winner. As your child matures, introduce competition, and remind her to be excited for the children who may beat her.
Introduce Timed Sharing
Take a timer with you on play dates so you can have the children take turns with toys! This can help your child grasp the idea that sharing something doesn’t necessarily mean giving something away permanently.
Put Special Toys Away
Identify which toys your child is comfortable sharing with others and which ones she has a more difficult time letting others play with. Then, put the special toys away for a few hours each day to help her adjust to the idea of being separated from some of her favorite things.
Use Positive and Descriptive Reinforcement
Praising your child when he shares well is a great way to encourage positive sharing etiquette. Help him notice when he makes his sibling smile, or how nice it feels when someone else shares with him!