I took an early childhood development class years ago and one of the teachers gave a lecture I would never forget. She put the idea of teaching kids to share into an entire new perspective for me and it has shaped the way I parent my own kids when it comes to sharing.
Kids are ALWAYS expected to share but think about it from an adult’s perspective. Say you spend half an hour shopping. Your cart is full of carefully picked items, you are about to start the second half of your list when a women walks up to you. She smiles politely and says “You’ve had that long enough…it’s my turn now.” As she strolls away with your cart another woman pats you on the shoulder. “You are so good at sharing.”
Doesn’t that sound ridiculous??? Of course it does. What we adults sometimes forget is that children’s play is like that. We don’t know what they have in mind for a particular item, or how they are feeling about it at that moment.
Here are some tips for teaching kids to share that I used as a preschool, and now use with my kids.
Teaching Kids to Share – Simple Parenting Strategy
1. Modeling behavior is a BIG ONE! Share with your kids, or other adults. (And really let your kids know when it is hard to share. “I really want to eat this entire sandwich, but I can see you would really like a bite. I’ll share with you.”)
2. It’s okay to not want to share with other kids. When you have a playdate scheduled, spend some time preparing. Look around the room with your little one and decide which things should be put up for the play date. “I know you have a special love for this car, would you like to put it up while your friends are here? Or maybe you would be excited to see how John uses it!”
3. Point out how it feels to be shared with…”That was so nice of Nancy to let you use the shovel, even though she was using it. How does that feel to you? I wonder how it would feel to be the one sharing!”
4. Use conflict resolution with the kids when solving problems. It will help them learn important verbal skills for those times when they just want everyone to know how important a certain toy is to them.
Do you have a special trick to inspire sharing?
Simple parenting tricks like this one can make all the difference when comes to really connecting with your kids. Click here to Ask Jill and get your parenting questions answered.
This post about teaching kid to share originally appeared on September 12, 2011.