It can often be a real chore to get kids to share with each other. Some will do it willingly. But that’s not the case for many. By teaching your child to share, you are providing him with a lesson that will carry throughout life. From an experienced mom and former nanny, these are some of my best tips for getting kids to share with others.
Be proactive whenever possible. When toddlers learn the fun they can have by sharing before an incident occurs, they are more likely to share. Put them in situations where they need to share in order to have fun. Also, put them in situations where they would like to use something the other person has. They can learn the value of taking turns and sharing in this way. The key is to set up and draw positive attention to sharing scenarios. When it becomes the normal thing to do, they are less likely to make a fuss over it when the situation is not set up.
In immediate situations, remove and be firm. To avoid situations with kids tussling over toys, remove the offending party from the situation. For instance, if a child snatches something another has, the other child no longer needs to share that item at the moment. However, if a child will never share any items, that child is the one that needs a firm talking to and removal from the situation. The toys can be put away until the child is willing to share or not bring their favorite items around others.
Speak on the child’s level. This should be done both physically and mentally. Bend down to the child’s height and eye level when speaking about the situation. This way, you are not being intimidating and they can also be more attentive. Talk to the child about proper sharing habits in ways they can understand, according to their personal comprehension level. If your child cannot understand you, there is no point in speaking at all. Two minutes of comprehensible talk is much more valuable than two hours of indecipherable lecture.
Lay down consequences. Be sure that your child knows what will happen if he is unwilling to share. Whether you decide to employ the ‘remove and be firm’ tactic above or another of your own, your child should know that is what will happen if he does not share. This not only teaches the child about sharing, but helps lay the foundation for other life lessons. Though we may want to give our children everything they want, that does not help set them up for the real world. Go ahead and give them things. But be sure they know the value of sharing with others and the consequences that occur when they are stingy.
Respect your child’s favorite items. It’s always good to share. But every child has something that is special to him. If your child does not want to share that, it’s fine and is actually quite normal. Respect your child’s right to have special items. But also be sure your child knows that if he doesn’t want to share something, it shouldn’t be brought out when others are around.
Be consistent. If you encourage sharing only sometimes, your child will learn to only do it sometimes. However, if you encourage it as a habit, she will be more receptive to sharing with others, as well as asking before using other people’s items. Be sure to follow through with whatever consequences you have laid out for not sharing. Follow-through and consistency are the key success components of any method.
More from Lyn:
Get Toddlers to Behave, Share and Play Nicely Together
Making Your Child’s Toys Last Longer: Practical and Easy Tips
Guide to Positive Discipline for Children