Ways For Teaching Your Toddler How to Share

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To a toddler, nothing increases a toy’s value more than another child’s desire to play with it. After all, sharing is not a natural impulse for toddlers. They are in a self-centred phase of development.

Even though it may be several years before your child is empathetic enough to take turns, that shouldn’t prevent you from teaching your kids the basics of sharing now as long as you observe a few simple rules while doing it. Here are the ways for teaching your toddler how to share.

Don’t Force it

Reprimanding your child or wrestling a toy away and giving it to a playmate won’t convince him/her to be generous in the future. In fact, these tactics may have the opposite effect, and make your child cling to her possessions even more tightly. Unless she’s being physically aggressive towards a peer step back and see whether they can work it out themselves.

Model Generosity

Find opportunities to explain to your child what sharing means. If you’re having a snack, offer him some. Use the word to reinforce the message: ‘Would you like to share my cheese slice?’ When he’s eating a banana, ask if he’ll let you have a bite. Connect the concept with good, positive feelings.

Keep Favourite Objects Aside

In a play date your toddler likely has a few treasured playthings that she won’t part with for any reason. That’s perfectly fine at this stage, so stash them when other kids are around. “Tell your child, ‘We’re going to hide these in the cupboard during your play date because they are your special toys.’ While this won’t encourage sharing, it helps keep the peace.

Start Swapping

One reason sharing is challenging for toddlers is that they don’t understand that letting someone else use a toy doesn’t mean saying goodbye to it forever. Help your child realize that sharing is a temporary thing by practising trading items with him. Once your toddler has mastered the art of swapping with you, see whether he’ll do the same thing on a play date.

Praise Their Progress

Toddlers frequently engage in ‘proto-sharing’ – letting someone else look at a possession while maintaining a firm grip. This stage comes as early as 1 year to 18 months. Learning that showing things to others can be fun for all will help your toddler develop true generosity down the road.   Don’t discount the good these small steps can do in later years.