How to teach your child to share

The technique of sharing doesn’t come naturally to children. They have to be taught, and as they grow and mature, sharing will become easier for them. Until then, however, there are several things you can do to encourage and teach your child to share.

Of course, one of the most important steps you can take is to model your own behavior. Let your child witness you sharing with others. The holidays will give you the perfect opportunity to help others by sharing what you have. Maybe you could adopt a needy family. Involve your child in selecting gifts for the children in the family. You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas to share, though.

Let your child see you go through some of your own clothes that you no longer want. Make sure they are in good condition, and explain to your child that you are giving some of your things to others who need them. You can then ask her to go through some of her own clothes and toys that she no longer wants or needs. Remind her that she is helping others out by giving. Praise her as she selects items to donate.

Let your child help you prepare food to take to those who are sick or have suffered a death in their family. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen and bring your child along. There are numerous ways to model the behaviors of giving and sharing, and there is no better person to set an example for your child than you.

Of course, it may still be extremely difficult for your child to share her beloved possessions. If you know that children are coming over to play, ask your child to name the items she simply cannot bear to share with others. You can then put these things away, thus taking away some of the pressure on your child.

Try not to criticize your child by telling him that he is selfish and mean. This will only create more resentment in him, and it will not encourage him to be a more giving person. Instead, use as much positive enforcement as you can. You want to praise good behavior. If your child does have a melt-down over one of his toys, it will be better to handle it by talking to him about his feelings. Try to get him to put into words what bothers him so much about sharing a particular object.

If your child has been struggling with sharing but really wants to have his friends over to play, you can make it clear to your child that he can only have company if he agrees to share. Ask him to place the toys he doesn’t want to share into a box or some place safe in your room. Then explain to him that he must share the other toys with his company. If he simply cannot share, you may have to tell him that he cannot have any company for a while.

There are certain instances where you can make it easy for your child to share. Of course, you can’t have two of everything, but you can have multiples of some items, such as crayons and coloring books. You can also use a timer to set limits on a particular toy that seems to be in demand. Explain to the children who are involved that they can play with the toy until the timer goes off, and then they must share the toy with the next person.

It will take time, but eventually your child will become more adept at sharing. Try to keep in mind that sharing will be easier as your child grows and matures. Until then, however, use positive reinforcement and open communication with your child, while at the same time modeling good behavior for her. Soon, she will be sharing her toys and showing you how proud she is of her own accomplishments.

It will take time

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