Teaching a toddler to share can be frustrating. At this age, it’s ok not to want to share – it means your child is starting to develop his/her own identity. But it’s good to start teaching them so they can get used to sharing as they grow older.
Here’s how you can help your toddler to share:
1. Don’t expect too much: There’s always power struggle and children may be more willing to share when they don’t feel forced to do so.
2. Decide on what is to be shared: We all have certain items that we consider precious; don’t force your child to share his most treasured toys. Let them know they can’t share straws, spoons or used tissues with others.
3. Know your child’s sharing style: Observe your child. If he/she generally tends to grab things from others, teach him or her not to do this.
- Teach generosity: When children understand kindness, they can begin to understand the concept of sharing.
5. Plan Ahead: Sharing during play dates can help. Hide your child’s most precious toys– invite their playmate to bring some of their toys along with them.This way they get to play with toys that are “new” to them.
6. Give them something to share: Children may initially be very resistant to sharing their things, but they can be taught. If you go to church, or a playdate, give them a bunch of spoons, pencils etc. and ask them to go around handing one to each person.
7. Give or take: Give your child a toy and ask them to give the toy back to you – repeat this process. This back and forth exchange will help your child understand that sharing an object doesn’t mean they won’t get it back.
8. Set a time frame: If “once they’re done” is too vague a concept and continuously leads to squabbles try setting a timer, explaining that each child will have a turn and will get exactly 10 minutes to play with a toy before it is the next child’s turn.
9. Don’t intervene immediately: It’s ok to fight over toys. It teaches them how to handle conflicts. Only get involved if the situation is getting serious…collect the toys; no one plays with it until they learn to share.
10. Praise them: Praise your child when he/she shares with others. Seeing how happy it makes you will encourage them to act in similar ways in the future.