Teaching your child to share can be hard, but it’s something they need to learn. Sharing is a behavior that you should start to see at around 24 months, but it’s never to early to start working on it.
My husband and I have only one child, but we plan to adopt a child later on down the road. However, because my daughter is an only child, it has been difficult to teach her to share. I was always worried about taking her on play dates, because I was afraid she might try to gouge an eye out when another child had a toy she wanted. As another example, my husband and I would go to the local Mexican restaurant, and my daughter would claim the entire basket of tortilla chips and salsa. If we tried to take a chip, she’d get upset and told us to “put it back!!” In order to even get a chip, we’d have to do it while she was distracted.
Needless to say, we had to work on the sharing. These are several useful tips that we have used to work on her sharing behavior.
1.Model How to Share
My husband and I would model sharing behavior. If we have a desired food such as cake, we would always offer her a piece. We would also share with each other. Studies have shown that children are more likely to share if they observe others who help and share. And when you do observe your child sharing, praise them for it.
2.Interactions with parents
If parents are responsive to the needs of the child, the child will develop empathy and other kinds of altruistic behaviors such as sharing. So, if your child is having trouble reaching a teddy bear off of a shelf, grab the teddy bear. If your child is upset because they fell and hurt themselves, give them your full attention and offer empathy. In general, it’s important to be giving and responsive to the needs of the child in order for them to develop altruistic behaviors.
3.Read books on sharing
If a parent reads age-appropriate books on sharing, this can help the child begin to better understand the concept of sharing and how to share with others.
I recommend this book based on the great reviews on Amazon:
4.Playdates can help kids practice sharing
Playdates with other children can offer practice with sharing. It may help to set up a timer for taking turns. For example, one child could play with a toy for 2 minutes, and when time is up, the other child gets 2 minutes with it.
5.Explaining how the behavior affects others
If, during a playdate, your child doesn’t share and the other child becomes upset, explain to your child what happened and why the other child is upset. You could say, “Kate is upset because you aren’t sharing, and she would like a turn with the toy.”
After using some of these techniques, my daughter now allows us to have some tortilla chips.
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