I was reading a blog recently by Rhonda of Giggles and Sugar Kisses, her blog URL is www.mother-2-mother.blogspot.com. She was talking about her adorable grandson starting his first day of nursery school. She also mentioned how at the age of 2, he is having a hard time with the concept of sharing. She asked for some advice from her readers. Since I have 3 little ones (going on 4), I am very familiar with this subject and I had a few ideas to share with her.
First of all, having difficulty with sharing is a completely normal thing for children ages 1 to 5 (and even older). It is important to start teaching a child how to share as soon as they can understand how to hold a toy and pass it to you. My youngest son just turned one and he often grabs toys away from his older siblings (ages 3 & 5). I am constantly telling my children that they need to share with each other. I try to sit down with them and explain why. I know that my youngest may not fully understand, but at least you can try.
A few good ideas to teach your child about sharing are:
1. Playtime can be a time for learning – I try to play with my children as often as I can and when an issue with sharing comes up, I try to discuss it right when it happens. I ask them how they would feel if someone were to take something away from them, or not be willing to share with them. I want them to recognize how they feel – if they would get upset, if it would hurt them or make them sad. They catch on pretty quick when they can see for themselves the positive affects of sharing and the negative affects of not sharing.
2. Role Playing – Sometimes I act out scenarios with my children and we talk about what the right and wrong things to do are. I have been doing this a lot with teaching my children how to stay safe and not talk to strangers. But this can also be done with sharing. You can sit down with them and pretend that you are a friend who wants a toy that they are playing with. Grab it from their hand and talk about how they feel about it. Ask them if it is right or wrong. And then role play a scenario where you are practicing the right way of doing things.
3. Watch TV Programs or Videos on Sharing – Most every cartoon on television has an episode that talks about sharing. But you may be able to get your hands on a video that you can sit down and watch with them and then discuss. And as we all know, children LOVE to watch things more than once. My children went through a phase where they demanded that they watch the same Barney episode every single day for over a month. I sure did get sick of it after the first week, but you would be amazed how quickly they soak up what they are watching. They learn the names of all the characters, the songs, and the stories. Children are very visual, so finding a movie about sharing might do the trick if you have a child who struggles with this.
4. Be an Example – For those of us who have larger families with older siblings, we can have the older children help teach the younger ones. And even mother’s and father’s can be an example concerning sharing. Children are always watching the things that we do. You can even talk to your space about possibly playing out a scenario and then talking to your child about it. Even passing the salt at the dinner table can be an opportunity to talk about how to share.
These are just a few ways on how you can teach a small child how to share. It may not work overnight. After all, a child is basically born pretty selfish. As parents we cater to their every need. And as they get older, it is hard to break them from expecting that everything is all about them. Parents with only one child may even have a harder time. It is good to have them interact with other children so that they can start to learn before they actually start school.
But as you practice these simple ideas, you will find that your child will begin to catch on. Be consistent and don’t give up if you are not seeing immediate results. It takes time.
How about you? Do you have a child who has issues with sharing? What are some of the steps and ideas that you are taking to help them? Please comment!