While children are young, it is important to teach them the importance of sharing. Not only is sharing a kind and generous act, it also helps to promote compassion and foster relationships from an early age. When your child starts to share with others, they learn to cooperate, compromise, and consider the needs of others.
However, sharing is not always easy, especially for young children who may be reluctant to part with their favourite toys. How then can you help your child learn to share?
To start, children often learn best by example, and this is especially true when it comes to sharing. Studies have shown that siblings contribute to the development of children’s understanding of others’ minds. Through their interactions with siblings, children may begin to understand the concept of sharing and how it works in practice. Similarly, if parents model sharing, children are likely to follow suit.
Of course, every family is different. Whether your toddler is an only child or part of a large family, there are a number of activities that can foster the spirit of sharing and instil a sense of generosity in them – and it will surely be a fun and enjoyable time for everyone.
How Do I Practice Sharing with My Toddler?
1. Use puppets
Sharing can be a difficult concept for some children to understand, so it’s important to explain it in simple terms. To introduce the act of sharing, you can begin by using puppets. Create scenarios in which the puppet must share with others. For example, you can have the puppet take turns with another puppet or demonstrate the puppet giving a toy.
Remember that it is natural for children to be hesitant about sharing at the initial stages. After all, to share means they will be giving up something that they have. By using puppets, your child can learn how to take turns and share without feeling pressure or worry. Additionally, puppets can help reduce the potential for conflict by providing a fun and neutral way to play.
You can also use puppets to teach your child about sharing through songs and stories. For example, you can have the puppet sing a song about sharing. Alternatively, you can tell a story about a puppet that learns the importance of sharing.
2. Create masterpieces with your child
Get two identical canvases and set them up side by side. Explain to your child that they can paint whatever they want on their canvas, but they must also share their colours with you so that you can paint on your canvas too. You can also take turns using the paintbrush. This will show your child that sharing doesn’t mean that they have to give up everything they’re interested in. As you and your child are painting, you can also take this opportunity to talk about why sharing is important and how it makes everyone feel good.
Additionally, you can use this activity to model sharing behaviour for your child. For example, if you have a limited amount of paint, offer to share it with your child instead. When you do so, explain why you’re doing it. For example, “I’m sharing my paint with you because I love you and I want you to have fun.” This helps your child see that sharing is a way to show care and concern for others. It also shows them that sharing doesn’t always mean giving up something that they value – it can be something that we do to make someone else happy.
Apart from teaching about sharing, this activity can also nurture your child’s creativity in the process.
3. Bring out the board game
Board games are another great way for your toddler to learn about sharing. Many board games require players to take turns, plan ahead, and think about how their actions will impact other players. As a result, these games can be excellent teaching tools for young children. When playing a game, each player has their own turn and then passes the game to the next player. This gives your child a chance to see how it feels to both have something and to have to wait for their turn. It also teaches them that sharing is a two-way street – if they want others to share with them, they need to be willing to share as well.
4. Cook with your child
Finally, why not prepare a meal together with your child? When you cook together, you can talk about how to divide the ingredients between everyone. With every dish that you make, your child can gradually understand that sharing is about fairness. In addition, cooking can help your child develop fine motor skills and learn how to be patient. For example, if you are making a cake, your child will need to wait for the cake to bake before they can eat it.
Spending time together in the kitchen is sure to create lasting memories and bonds between you and your child. So go ahead and give it a try – your child might just surprise you with their culinary skills and their willingness to share!
Get Started in Your Child’s Early Years
Through these activities, your toddler can slowly learn to see the world from another person’s perspective and understand their needs and feelings. These are essential skills that will help them throughout their lives. With repeated practice, sharing will eventually become second nature.
There are also many more opportunities for sharing at preschool, such as during free play, snack time, and group activities. In a safe and stimulating environment, your child will be surrounded by other children and learn how to share both space and toys. This can be a great opportunity for them to practice being considerate of others.