For many children, sharing is a very challenging idea. Often toddler’s think, “if I like it, it’s mine”, “if I can take it from you, it’s mine”, “if I had it in my hand a while ago, it’s mine”*. Therefore, it can be difficult to teach children the idea of sharing. Children under the age of 1 ½ are too young to understand the concept of sharing because they are just learning the meaning of the words “mine”, “yours” and “ours”. Around the age of 2 is the appropriate time to begin to teach the concept of sharing.
- Practice sharing by creating games out of sharing. Play games such as turn-taking and say “Your turn”, “my turn” to promote the fun of taking turns.
- Catch your child sharing! Children often do share all the time, without knowing it. Make it a point to acknowledge their sharing and give them lots of praise!
- Be sure adults in your house and around the child are good models and share. If everything the child touches is “dads” or “moms” then that gives the child the idea that everything else can be claimed by them. Instead, share with your children. Promote the idea that adults share too.
- Point out when people are sharing on the TV. If you are watching a cartoon and the character shares something say “Oh isn’t that nice! He shared! You can do that too!”.
- Children learn through examples, so point out as many examples as possible.
* taken from the “Toddler Property Laws” author unknown