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How To Teach Your Kids To Share

 

The little toy car has been sitting on a shelf for months, but suddenly it’s the most popular toy in the house and the shrieks of “I had it first” can be heard from around the block. This is likely a familiar scene at your house if you have more then one child, or if you ever have friends over for a playdate. Teaching your children to share is no small task, but it can be done with some time and patience. 

Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you work with your kids on the art of sharing: 

  • Teach them to take turns - if your little one is reluctant to share, talk to them about "taking turns" with the item instead. Never take the item away “forcing” them to share. Give one child a minute or two with the toy and warn that child that it's their turn now but soon it will be another child's turn. Give gentle reminder one more time and have the first child give the toy to the second child. Repeat this a few times between all the children, so each child has had the opportunity to play with the item and give it up. 
  • Make sure they know what's important - remember when you were a kid and if you fought over a toy your mom would say "well then no one gets it" and the toy would disappear? It seems unfair to a child to just take the toy away, but it’s not a bad method to help children to learn how to share. However, just taking away the toy is missing a step - conversation. It’s important to help your kids understand that the toy shouldn't be have a higher value then their friend or sibling. Before removing the toy, sit both parties down and talk. Let your kids know that people are more important than stuff. To make sure they understand, you can follow up with a few questions ask; ”what’s more important, this toy or your sibling/friend?" After they come to an understanding that stuff is worthless compared to people, remove the toy and let your children know they can have the toy back when they can remember they need to treat people as more important than the toy.  
  • Practice it - Take some time to play with your child and take turns. Start off by playing with a toy, one you know they will want. After playing with it for a few minutes, tell them that you are going to share it with them and give them a turn for a few minutes. After some time has passed, ask if you can have it to play with for a little while. When they give the toy to you to share, praise them for being awesome at sharing!  This is a great opportunity to spend time with your kids and get some sharing practice in.
  • Live it - make sure that you are leading by example. If you aren't willing to share, will they ever learn?  Share your food with them, let them see how you share with your spouse or another friend. When you share, make sure you are happy about it, if you look miserable while sharing, they won’t see it as a positive.
  • Be patient - teaching your kids to share is an ongoing process. One day they will be great at it and the next, it will seem like you are starting over.

Don’t give up and keep at it!

 
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