Your child is ready to learn about sharing when he is around three years old. He is more social, and his improved language skills makes it easier for you to explain that nothing everything he touches is ‘mine.’ But sharing does not come naturally, or even easily. Here are some ways to teach your child how to share.
Encourage him to share with you
Do this by asking him to share a favorite toy with you—and since you’re his favorite person in the world, he may readily agree. Remember to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ so that you also get to role model and practice proper manners. Then, when he wants the toy back, teach him to phrase his request nicely. ‘May I have it back, Mommy?’
Increase his interactions with other kids
Visit playgrounds, join play groups, etc. Have your child interact with other kids, even of different ages, can help him develop his social skills and get used to sharing, taking turns, and getting along with others.
Don’t force your child to share everything
Give him a chance to keep his special toys and playthings for himself. Ask what toys he would like to keep out of sight when his friends come over. You can even let him choose: ‘Do you want to share the blocks or the cars today?’
Knowing he doesn’t have to share everything all the time works as a kind of reverse psychology that helps kids loosen their grip of ownership on toys. And, when he sees that sharing isn’t that bad after all, he may be more open to bringing out his more treasured toys at the next playgroup.
Offer another alternative
When he lends his toys to somebody else or waits his turn to borrow someone’s toys, fill his idle time with another activity. If he’s busy making clay animals or playing with a ball, he won’t get bored and shriek, ‘Give it back!’
Praise him when he shares
Say ‘Thank you for sharing!’ when he offers to share a cookie with a friend, or a toy with his sister. Or point out how he’s made someone happy. ‘Look, she’s really enjoying those books! You made her smile!’
Talk about the many ways to share
Talk about the people in his community that share their time or help other people. ‘Volunteers like Mr. Greene really works hard all day to keep the park clean. What would happen if the park weren’t clean?’