Children need to learn to share so they can make and keep friends, play cooperatively, take turns, negotiate and cope with disappointment. Sharing teaches children about compromise and fairness. They learn that if we give a little to others, we can get some of what we want too.
Sharing is a key part of getting along with others, so it becomes more and more important when your child starts having playdates and going to child care, preschool or kindergarten.
Helping your child learn about sharing
Children learn a lot from just watching what their parents do. When you model good sharing and turn-taking in your family, it gives your children a great example to follow.
Children also need opportunities to learn about and practise sharing. Here are some ways to encourage sharing in everyday life:
- Talk about why sharing is good for your child and others.
- Point out good sharing in others.
- When you see your child trying to share or take turns, give your child plenty of praise and attention.
- Play games with your child that involve sharing and turn-taking. Talk your child through the steps.
- Talk with your child about sharing before playdates with other children.
When your child finds it challenging to share
If your child finds sharing challenging, it’s a good idea to stay nearby when your child plays with other children, and encourage your child so they don’t forget to share. When your child does try to share, you can say exactly what your child did well and how proud you are.
There’s no reason to avoid playdates if your child is still learning to share. Instead, use playdates as a chance to help your child practise. You can remind them at the start of the playdate that sharing is a good thing to do with friends, and help them to decide what toys they could share.