If your child has trouble sharing his toys with other kids, you may feel frustrated. You want your little one to be generous and willingly share his belongings with others, but he fusses every time you ask him to let his playmate play with a toy. It is quite normal for little kids to be selfish, but it is up to you as a parent to show your child how important sharing is. Here are seven helpful tips for teaching your child to share.
Be a Good Role Model
Children like to follow their parent's lead, so it is very important to set a good example. If you want your kid to learn to like sharing, you have to model generosity in front of him. For example, when you are at the dinner table with your family, let your child see you share part of your dessert with your spouse. When your child sees how generous you are, he will likely follow in your footsteps.
Organize Play Dates
Teaching your child to share will be a lot easier if you organize at least one play date during the week. Before your child's friends come over, tell him how nice it would be for him to share his toys. For example, you could say something like, "Sharing your toys with Bobby and Jimmy will put smiles on their faces." If your child knows sharing will make his friends feel good, he will be more likely to let them play with his toys.
Compliment Generous Behavior
When you see your child share a toy with another child, praise him for the behavior. You could say something like, "I am so proud of you for sharing your toy cars with Billy." If you consistently give your kid positive reinforcement, he will be more likely to repeat the good behavior.
Try Different Wording
If your child always makes a fuss when you even mention the word "sharing," try using different terminology. If you use words like "borrowing" or "taking turns," sharing will not seem so permanent. Explain to your child that he will get his toy back after his friend gets done borrowing it.
Do not Force Your Child to Share
When your child is reluctant to share his belongings with someone else, do not force him to do it. If you try to make your child do something he really does not want to do, he may become resentful. Instead, let your little one know why he should think about sharing his toys. For example, tell him that letting other kids borrow his toys will inspire them to share their own belongings.
Point Out When Other People Share
According to Harvey Karp, MD, author of The Happiest Toddler on the Block, a good way to teach your child generosity is to point out sharing in everyday life. For instance, if you see a couple sharing a bag of popcorn at the movie theater, make sure your child is aware. The more your kid is exposed to sharing on a daily basis, the more likely he will be to share with others.
Let Your Child Put Away Special Items
It is not necessary for your child to share every toy in his room. If he has a couple of prized possessions he does not feel comfortable parting with, let him put those items in the closet when his friends come over to play.
Be patient with your child, and he will eventually learn the art of sharing. While you can do a lot of this teaching in your home, sending your child to a pre-kindergarten program can also teach them sharing and other important social aspects. Click here for more info on preschool programs in your area.