Top 10 Sharing Tips

Learning to share is all part of growing up. It can take a long time for children to learn that "sharing shows caring" and I know quite a few adults that appear to still struggle with the art of sharing.

Remember that sharing is all part of growing up. It is quite natural for a child to want to hold on to their own treasured possessions. Would you happily let your friends drive off in your new car or take turns living in your house? Well I certainly wouldn't! Any young child will feel the same way about his or her most treasured possessions, so therefore not sharing is more natural than sharing, especially when a two to three year old child doesn't fully understand that they will get the toy back when their friends have gone home.

Children who master the art of sharing will help to make their own life easier. It will help them to become popular with others and help them to make friends.

Having friends over to play is likely to be a more enjoyable experience for everyone if you do not have to constantly step in taking on the role of a United Nations Peacekeeper.

Here are ten tips to help start your child on the road to sharing and to also help keep friendships on track throughout the learning process.

1. Set an Example- Share With Your Children

If you have something good that you know your child will enjoy then share it with them. The more you are prepared to share then the more they are likely to learn positive habits from you.

2. Getting the Message Across - Sharing Can be Good

As they are sitting there happily devouring your favourite chocolates explain to them that you are sharing with them and point out how good it makes them feel. Draw comparisons between sharing your chocolate and them sharing their toys with friends.

If you have something like a cake talk to your child as you divide it into portions and discuss the sharing process. Point out that it would be greedy to eat a whole king size chocolate gateau even if that is exactly what you would like to do!

3. Set Some House Rules

If your child has a friend coming over then talk through sharing before the friend arrives. Gently remind them of the benefits of sharing and how they would feel if they went to a friend's house and had to sit and watch while their friend played with everything.

4. Pre-Emptive Strike 1 - Put Favourite Toys Away

If from your discussion you realise that there are a number of toys your child likes too much to share then agree to put them away somewhere for the duration of the other child's visit. Put the toys away on the understanding that any remaining toys are to be shared. Your child is not naughty for not wanting to share their favourite toys. They are just not ready to do so.

5. Pre-Emptive Strike 2 - Take Some Toys With You

If your child is visiting a friend and you know the friend has yet to master the joys of sharing then take a few toys with you. These should be toys your child is happy to play with, but are not their favourite toys. There is a good chance that the other child will then wish to swap toys and share their own.

6. Sharing Activities

Part of the learning process is understanding that it is not just toys that need to be shared. Activities also need to be shared. For example if your daughter has somehow managed to coerce the boy down the road to play dolls for half an hour she should also be prepared to play football as well. If not more commonly enjoyed activities need to be tried.

7. Group Activities

If sharing is just not going to happen then for your own peace and quiet it may be worth trying some group activities. These could include painting, drawing or making puzzles. Even then you may find for drawing activities you need similar pencils etc. for the children to use.

8. Be Reasonable - Offering Alternatives

It can help to start a child on the road to sharing if they are prepared to offer friends alternatives. For example if your son is holding on to his favourite truck for dear life it can help if he offers his friend the use of his collection of grand prix cars.

9. Stay Relaxed - Reason is Better Than Force

Try to remember that all children have problems sharing. Therefore if a child appears very reluctant to share they are only following their natural instincts and are not quite ready to go all the way with sharing just yet. Try to find alternatives that keep everyone happy and keep as calm as you can.

10. Praise and Then Praise Again

If you notice any child sharing then give them praise. You can do this after playtime has finished as well. This helps in reinforcing the point that they shared well. This increases the chances of them sharing happily in the future.

Be aware that some children can take sharing too far and it is important that they realise what is theirs. The last thing you want to see is a friend trying to walk out of your house with that expensive birthday present under their arm explaining to you that your child said they could have it. Keep an eye out for this type of behaviour as it can lead to your child being a soft touch for other people later on.

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