As parents, a common issue we face is teaching our kids to share. Grasping the idea that they have to share their toys can be confusing, but the skill itself will serve them well throughout their lives. Here are some practical ways for you to teach this skill to your children, hopefully without a tough fight.
Set Positive Examples and Model Behavior
Just about everything a parent does, a child will absorb like a sponge and attempt to repeat. This includes positive and negative behaviors. If you are playing with your children, actively display the art of sharing.
Using terms like "thank you" and "your turn" can positively reinforce the acts and show them what the dynamic looks like. When you're not playing with your kids, but they are around, display sharing with other adults or by random acts of kindness in the community.
Take Advantage of Teaching Opportunities
The moments where children are less than cooperative can be challenging to navigate as caregivers. Consider using these more challenging moments as teaching opportunities.
Explaining why we don't act a specific way or teaching alternative ways to handle situations can provide children with more tangible patterns. It's essential to use this strategy with a calm demeanor to allow them to grasp the information.
Define What Sharing Means
By defining what sharing means, you can instill the concept into their vocabulary. This strategy might require a lot of repetition and explanation, but eventually, they will catch on.
Most children are too curious for a vague explanation, so simply forcing them to share is an ineffective teaching method. Ensure you explain the importance of sharing and that it's only temporary.
Acknowledge Acceptable Things To Not Share
An easy breakthrough with sharing is starting with toys that are more interactive—and withholding the ones that are more sentimental or personal.
If something has a child's name, it won't be easy to teach them this concept. But something like a set of blocks with an open-ended design can show them interactive playing, how easy sharing is, and ways to cope with the idea.
Find Out Why They Don't Want To Share Specific Items
If they're unwilling to grasp the concept of sharing an item, ask them why. Sometimes, by understanding their feelings regarding something specific, parents can re-evaluate how we approach the concepts to deliver the message in a way children will understand. It might be an acceptable item to hold onto if it has their name on it. In contrast, a community toy might be worth a teaching opportunity.
It's essential to remember that young children are learning every day. So, if introducing the skill of sharing isn't working, give it some time for them to process the request before they begin displaying the skill.