You know that sharing is an important social skill that will help your young child in their future work, school, and personal life. However, you may also be wondering how you can help your toddler or preschooler understand the concept and importance of sharing if they have little experience with it. Here are some ways you can teach your young child about sharing.
Take sharing at their pace
Because toddlers and preschoolers may be new to sharing, it’s important to set reasonable expectations. Your child may forget that letting their sibling play with a toy is only temporary, so you may need to reassure them that the toy isn’t being taken away permanently.
Make sharing fun
Your child can make positive associations with sharing if it’s also fun. Look for entertaining ways to show your child that sharing with others can be rewarding. Some fun ideas include putting together a jigsaw puzzle, creating a large art piece with friends, or playing a game where several people have to work together.
Praise and thank your child
Praise and thanks will help your toddler or preschooler understand that sharing is a good behavior. You can than your child for sharing a stuffed animal or thank them for taking turns with a game. Be sure to use neutral language that doesn’t compare your child to others, so as not to accidentally encourage rivalries between siblings or friends.
Get your child involved in the process
Children feel more encouraged to learn a skill when they feel a sense of empowerment in the process. With sharing, you can give your child a decision. For example, your child may experience anxiety at the thought of letting someone else play with a favorite toy. To encourage sharing in a situation like this, you might ask your child to pick a different toy to share with their friend
Lead by example
Children learn by watching their parents, so it’s important to model good sharing behavior. With a young child who’s just learning how to share, you can point out when you’re sharing. For example, you can say, “This sandwich is delicious. Would you like to share it with me so we can both enjoy it?” Let your child see that you can also share things like thoughts and feelings.
Being able to make friends, work in groups, and grow socially is a core fundamental of the student experience at My Place. Learn more about how our programs foster healthy communication and relationships.