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 hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Liyah
    Re: Gymnastics for Kids and Teens
    Hi I'm 13years old and I love gymnastics but cant aford it i was flexable but i got got a little fat do you think i can still do…
    3 October 2015
  • Manny
    Re: Break Thumb Sucking or Pacifier Habit
    Used some of your tips to stop my three year old, thanks. I think I've cracked it! She's not asked for it for four…
    23 September 2015
  • GrowingKids
    Re: Dividing and Decorating a Shared Bedroom
    Jude - Your Question:Thanks for this article - it has been really helpful as I didn't quite know how to get around…
    18 September 2015
  • GrowingKids
    Re: Developing Self Esteem
    MikeJ - Your Question:Ever since I split up with my ex, three months ago I've noticed my 14 year old daughter doesn't have the bubbly self…
    17 September 2015
  • Jude
    Re: Dividing and Decorating a Shared Bedroom
    Thanks for this article - it has been really helpful as I didn't quite know how to get around the issue. I'm not…
    17 September 2015
  • MikeJ
    Re: Developing Self Esteem
    Ever since i split up with my ex, three months ago I've noticed my 14 year old daughter doesn't have the bubbly self confidence she used…
    16 September 2015
  • Anto
    Re: Scholarships and Grants for Education
    Hello, how will I get any scholarship for taking my daughter of 4yrs to school this is because I don't have enough…
    31 August 2015
  • Nickyc
    Re: Childcare Options During School Holidays
    I am a kitchen manager in a school. I have just learnt that an after school club (fun zone) Are using my kitchen…
    28 August 2015
  • lucy
    Re: Gymnastics for Kids and Teens
    I'm 14 years old and I really want to start gymnastics. I've never done it before but I'm a little bit flexible. Is there…
    3 August 2015
  • jammydogger
    Re: Gymnastics for Kids and Teens
    Hi my name is Jamie lee I am 13year old and I have been wanting to be a gymnastics for years now and I want to learn how to do…
    22 July 2015
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.