Have you ever experienced a get-together with friends that meant to be fun-filled and full of laughter, but everything gets messed up? Why? Because you find yourself resolving children’s conflicts over toys, tantrums, and never-ending crying afterward?
I know how frightening it could be. Because it happened with me; Once, I invited my friends over to catch up and have some fun after an extended period and scheduled a playdate for my toddler to meet other children too. Everything was meticulously organized to make the day memorable for everyone until the ‘wrestling’ of kids over the toys ruined everything.
That day, I realized how important it is to teach your children to share their belongings with other kids. ‘Sharing is Caring’ is all we need to inculcate in the minds of our children as soon as they start to absorb and understand things. Because the things learned at early stages are more impactful than what we try to teach them at an older age.
Children gain a great deal of knowledge simply by observing their parents. When you and your family exhibit proper sharing and turn-taking, you set a fantastic illustration for your kids to follow.
In this article, I will share the tips and tricks that I experienced and learned over time to help you teach your kids the ‘art of sharing.’ However, before that, we need to address certain things.
Why my child finds it so hard to share
Whenever we face situations like our kids fighting over the same things and find it so hard to share their belongings with their friends or fellows, our thoughts are compelled to consider questions like:
- Is it only me facing this situation?
- Why my child so stubborn?
- Do everyone’s children behave like that?
The answer to all these queries would be, No, you are not alone facing this situation; every other parent is in the same boat, having kids of the same age.
Refusal to share their stuff with other playmates is perfectly normal behavior for toddlers. Children are only concerned about their very own emotions, desires, and demands. They are unaware of the behavioral–emotional complications essential in sharing.
Things we need to understand
Learning the art of sharing is a developmental milestone. You cannot expect a one-year-old to master this art at this age since it is not feasible. However, with time and correct coaching, everything becomes better.
It would help if you keep the following points in mind while educating them to share:
- Don’t get frustrated: First of all, you need to be patient because patience is crucial when training your children. Frustration may result in causing more problems instead of resolving them. Even if your child gets frustrated over things, try to calm him down with your positive energy.
- Make things exciting:Indulge your kids in cooperative games rather than competitive. As an example, offer them bricks to build robots together; this way, there will be no fear of losing or winning, and the children will enjoy working together to create something.
Also, you can register your kid in one of the best digital learning programs by adding applications in their gadgets where there is no competition, and you will be able to interact with a variety of friends.
- Encourage them to read: Encouraging your children to read books about sharing is caring, and spreading joy in this manner can have a beneficial effect on their brain development and comprehension.
Additionally, you can give your child personalized books to make the process more exciting. This enables kids to relate stories to themselves, which simplifies matters.
- Avoid punishing for not sharing: Punishing your toddler for not sharing would only aggravate matters. In addition, embarrassment and humiliation can act as impediments to learning new abilities.
There are some toys like a teddy bear or a car which is very close to his heart, so you need to understand that everyone has their personal favorites which we don’t wish to share with anyone.
- Turn-by-turn policy: Teach your child to take turns when playing; as he waits for his turn, you can divert his attention by handing him another object, such as “Sam, could you kindly hold this stopwatch and count how much time remains until your turn?” This will undoubtedly assist him in waiting for his turn.
- Be a role model: Years 2 to 4 are critical for children’s development because this is the period during which major psychological, social, and cognitive growth occurs.
Children learn more through observation than through listening, and as a result, they will adapt to what they observe in their surroundings. Therefore, attempt to model sharing and cooperation in their presence to help them grasp the concept.
It is a journey, not a race, to educate your children to share. This will take some time, but eventually, your kids would be well on their approach with positive encouragement, mentoring, and persistence.
Related: How To Teach Toddler Colors
Tips to Teach a Toddler to Share
Sharing is amongst the most difficult concepts to teach. We cannot force children to share their favorite items with others as this could be detrimental to their psychology. We need to be very cautious while trying to educate our kids to share.
As a result of my own experience attending several training programs for preschoolers and toddlers, I would like to share some tips and tactics that worked quite well for me.
1. Trading: with similar items
First of all, teach your child to trade before going further into sharing. Trading is when you have two of the same objects: two board markers of the same color and the same company.
In this way, it wouldn’t be upsetting for the child to trade or release from their hands if there are two similar things, thus make it easy for a child to share one with their pal.
So in this way, we can train them to share stuff when there is no difference between them, but it is advisable to start trading with an adult. But don’t forget to:
- Praise kids for that
- Name it like- ‘good trading’ so the kid can remember later
2. Trading: with different items
Once your child becomes accustomed to similar trading items, gradually transition him to trading different objects, not significantly different in size or color, but somewhat different in terms of form or color.
Yet again, repeat the previous actions, like saying “Wow, wonderful job!” and then saying “Trade!” so kids will remember this is when they should complete the task they have already done.
So the kids now have mastered the art of trading. They are doing great trading with adults as well as with their age-mates – now you can start discussing sharing.
Sharing implies that there is now only one item to rotate or share. It would be difficult for the children to let go of things if they cannot immediately retrieve them and are forced to leave empty-handed or wait.
Now, in this circumstance, you are unable to trade with either identical or dissimilar things. The true struggle begins now. As a result, and in light of the fact that children take turns, I would recommend to:
- Start counting- since counting helps children to know how long to wait. Start with a small amount of time, then lengthen it.
- Keep appreciating– Children enjoy being acknowledged, especially in front of their playmates, so continue to do so throughout the game to keep it engaging and exciting.
- Use a timer– These are the kinds of things that delight children. You can set a timer for 5 or 10 seconds for each round and allow the youngster to hold the phone or whatever else you are using.
Developing the ability to share with grace is a long-term journey. However, the key is to exercise patience and caution when confronted with such situations. Recognize when your child is ready to demonstrate empathy and when it is appropriate to teach him about sharing.
According to Piaget, “Children are egocentric.” But that doesn’t comply that they are selfish and arrogant but because they are incapable of comprehending some concepts at this young age. So, we as parents need to understand this thing more, rather than expecting our innocent kids to behave a certain way.
To end, it is vital to highlight that two children cannot be compared. Each child is unique in their physical, mental, and developmental characteristics. Therefore, strive to educate them in accordance with their abilities and mental and psychological differences.
It is absolutely normal for kids or preschoolers not to share their possessions. Try to teach a toddler to share but also respect their feelings and their affiliation for certain things. After all, we elder are also sometimes getting selfish about our favorite things. Right?
So this not-so-typical article will surely help you to address all the ‘typical’ questions normally you ask yourself.
I hope now you can enjoy your parties.