Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How to Teach Your Kids to Share

Sharing is an important life skill that all children need to learn. Sharing will help them when they make new friends and when they are asked to share with others in your absence.

1. Seeing is Doing

Children, like adults, learn by what they see. The first people they see are their family members, and that is why it is so important for parents to model this kind of behavior to their children. It is a known fact that children who feel close to their parents and loved by them find it easier to share than others. Come up with a game to model these behaviors. For instance, give your kid some candy, and for every piece you share, encourage them to share something else with their peers. Every time they successfully do this, show your love and approval generously.

2. Sharing is Cooperating

Playing with other children gives kids an opportunity to share with others their own age. When they play games, they can be encouraged to give to others and then when they do, praise them for the act of sharing. It is also important to note that when a child is encouraged to share, he or she begins to understand the importance of cooperating with others and the value that comes from working together.

3. Sharing: A Great Way to Learn

If relatives are coming and they have a child close in age to yours, ask your child in advance to share some of their toys. However, it is also important to tell them that they don’t have to share toys that are very special to them, unless he or she wants to. Another important point about children and sharing is what to do if an argument occurs. Allow them to resolve the argument on their own. If you see, however, that an agreement is far from imminent, then do what you can to resolve the situation.

4. The Merits of Sharing

Other ways in which you can help your child with sharing is by telling them how good it makes you feel. Talk about children and adults who don’t have much and talk about why sharing is important. It is important to remember, to not be too forceful though. When a child is very young—less than three years old—he or she doesn’t understand time and waiting. In addition, it is also important to never forcefully take a toy or other object out of your child’s hands. This kind of behavior will make the child think that the way to get things is by grabbing and being forceful themselves.

Guest post written by Jonah Wilkins, who likes to write, travel, cook and frequent

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