If there is one word that is most common among toddlers it is this: “Mine!” In a toddler’s little world, the world is all about them. With this in mind, it becomes pretty clear and easy to understand why sharing with others does not come naturally to them.
As parents, it is important that we mold our children to learn to share with others. If they don’t, they are entering a world that will be quite difficult! We certainly don’t want to raise selfish adults, so it is imperative that us parents teach our toddlers how to share with others in order for them to be productive and giving members of our society.
When teaching your child to share, it is important to first realize that it is not productive to force your toddler to share. Instead, work to create an environment of sharing in order to encourage sharing. It is important to realize that to toddlers, a toy is so much more than a toy; it is a valued possession that must be protected. While teaching sharing, respect the normal level of possessiveness while encouraging the attitude of sharing with another.
Below are a few examples of tips to utilize when helping your toddler to learn to share. They are just a few of the many options that may work for your child.
Tip #1: Model Generosity and “Sharing”
It is true what they say that children learn what they see, not from what you say. Model generosity and sharing in your own life and comment to your child on how nice it is.
Tip #2: Stay Involved
Toddlers who feel connected to their parents have an easier time sharing their toys since their security is wrapped up within their parent. A child who feels secure inside is more apt to share their most prized possessions with others since their value is found outside of a material toy.
Tip #3: Make It a Game!
Practice sharing with your young child by setting up situations where they can share. Give them some cookies and ask them to share with everyone in the room or come up with another scenario you can develop that can help your child learn the value of sharing.
Tip #4: Avoid Stepping In Immediately
While it’s easy to step in and make sure our toddler shares while playing with another, it is important to consider the necessity of allowing the toddlers to first work out the situation themselves. See if they’re able to work it out and if not, step in and explain how to share.
Tip #5: Try a Timer
If your child is having a difficult time learning to share, try using a timer. Set a timer and say, “You can play with the toys for 5 minutes. When 5 minutes is up the timer will ring and then it’s Johnny’s turn”. This helps the child not only learn how to share, but learn valuable lessons such as taking turns and delayed gratification.