Home > Behaviour > Teaching Sharing

Teaching Sharing

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 3 Apr 2012 | comments*Discuss
Sharing Taking Turns Take Turns Teaching

We all want to raise polite, well-mannered children who readily share their belongings with others. As any parent will tell you, however, sharing does not come naturally to children and it takes a bit of time to teach them to willingly share.

What They Think

When you take a toy from your toddler in order to teach sharing, they don't realise that they will be getting the toy back again. They think you are simply taking it away and giving it to another child. It's no wonder that they object to this! Toddlers cannot yet grasp the concept of sharing, but as they grow into preschoolers, they will better understand and will become more willing to share and take turns.

What Works

In the beginning, it can work best to encourage your child to share things that you have multiples of, such as blocks, crayons, or snacks. It can be far easier to share these types of items since there are many available, so there are some to share and some to keep. As your child learns to share in this manner, gradually encourage the sharing of single items, such as a doll or a truck. It's a good idea to talk about taking turns so that your child understands that after a time, it will again be their turn. In the beginning, it helps to keep each child's turn fairly short -- just a few minutes. Some parents find that using a timer works wonders in getting their child to share. Simply set the timer and when it chimes, it is time to pass the toy along and find something else to play with for the next time segment. After a while, children will begin to share naturally.

It can also help to give children some control. While it is important that your child learns to share with others, they will do so more willingly if you allow them to make some choices. For example, if you are at the beach and your child has numerous sand toys, you can let him decide which ones to share with his friends. Saying, "Which bucket should Michael play with -- the yellow one or the green one?" gently leads your child into sharing while allowing him to remain in control of his possessions.

Mine, Mine, Mine!

Most people, not just children, have a few things that they would prefer not to share. Many children have a favourite stuffed animal or other item for which they have a special attachment and it is not fair to expect them to share these things. It is important, however, that they learn to accept the fact that if they are not willing to share a certain item, it is better left at home rather than bringing it along on play dates.

Praise Them

When you see your child sharing, taking turns, or being kind to others, be sure to let them know that you are pleased. Take the time to notice their good behaviour and encourage it by praising them when they are being kind and considerate. Children want to please you and are likely to repeat actions that earn them positive feedback.

Set the Example

Children do much of their learning from observing the behaviour of the adults in their lives. Be sure that your children see you sharing your time and possessions with others, and they will be likely to follow your good example.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • mimi
    Re: Gymnastics for Kids and Teens
    I am 13 years old and I want to enter gymnastics, I do home gymnastics myself and want to try out for gymnastics. Is there space…
    19 August 2017
  • Kellzbelly23
    Re: At What Age Can Kids Get a Job?
    I am 12 years old I am look for a Part time job on Friday to Sunday and I really want to work
    13 August 2017
  • GrowingKids
    Re: Scholarships and Grants for Education
    Abed - Your Question:Hello! I live in Iran now and have 2 kids that speak English very good. however the bigger one is…
    3 August 2017
  • Abed
    Re: Scholarships and Grants for Education
    Hello! I live in Iran now and have 2 kids that speak English very good. however the bigger one is just 10 years old…
    3 August 2017
  • JGT
    Re: How Much Should Teens Eat?
    @Grimes - You are currently at the upper end of a healthy weight. Your maximum healthy weight based on a BMI of 25 is 12.4 stones.…
    24 July 2017
  • Grimes
    Re: How Much Should Teens Eat?
    I'm a 17 year old male, and I weigh 150 pounds. I'm 5'10". I still got some fat on me, and I was wondering how much I should be…
    22 July 2017
  • Jessie
    Re: At What Age Can Kids Get a Job?
    hi i am a 12 year old girl looking for a part time job. i am trust worthy and hard working. i am home educated so i would be…
    27 June 2017
  • Florence
    Re: Hiring an Au Pair
    Im looking for Au pair to look after my 3 three children while i go work. My Two chilren are older aged 14 and 11 but my third is 3 years. So…
    18 June 2017
  • Nicholas
    Re: At What Age Can Kids Get a Job?
    I am 13 and would like to get a job. I am not show how to apply or any steps or anything. Could I have some help?
    13 June 2017
  • Maddie
    Re: Gymnastics for Kids and Teens
    I am 10 can I still join in chubby to i can do the splits, a bridge, a backbend, a cartwheel but I'm bad at cartwheels. almost a…
    12 June 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the GrowingKids website. Please read our Disclaimer.