It is perfectly normal for your young children to have a tough time grasping the concept of sharing. It is not totally uncommon to witness your child showing reluctance to allow their peers to touch or play with something of theirs. Many children seemingly don’t totally understand sharing until they are older, so there is no reason to be alarmed if your normally docile little one gets aggravated when someone tries to use their toy. It is important, however, that parents focus on encouraging their children to share in a positive and reassuring way. I know that sharing is harder for my kids with their siblings than it is for them to share with friends but I try my best to encourage them to share with each other and be better siblings.
Lead by Example
Often times, children pay close attention to the way their parents behave. One of the most important ways to encourage your children to share is to model the behaviour you want to see from your child. If you are playing on the floor with them with a certain toy, ask them if they would like a turn. It is also important for parents to show their children how they share with others outside the family, so the next time you are having a playdate make sure they are watching when you share a cookie with a friend.
Praise The Little Things
When your child makes the right choice, it is a great idea to give them the praise they deserve. Often, as parents, it’s easy to fall into the trend of telling them how to behave as opposed to praising them for the good choices they make. Positive reinforcement is a great way to ensure that your child knows that sharing is a good choice.
Talk about The Cause
Try to assess your child’s emotional reasons for not wanting to share. Perhaps they are scared that they will not get a turn playing with their toy if they let someone else play with it, or maybe they don’t trust they will get it back. Reassure your child that they will get a turn and that sharing doesn’t always mean giving and never getting back.
Encouraging Children to share is an important life skill that we need to teach. Make sure you are leading by example and praising their smart choices. Always offer your child reassurance, it takes time for them to understand that sharing is a positive thing.