Sharing is a life skill that needs to be taught. As you all know if you are a parent that holds play dates your young toddler is not always willing to share all of their toys in the beginning until they have been taught how to share and play nicely. They all carry what I call ‘I’m the king of the castle’ syndrome. Meaning I will dictate what toy each toy each child will play with and if I want it I will just take it. Indeed, it can be disparaging for the young children that were taken off guard with a pinch, a thump or sometimes even a bite!

lf you are a parent or co-carer looking after or raising several children it is critical that they all learn how to share. Especially in a world where children have become so spoiled with having one each of everything. Twins and multiples learn how to do this early as by default they have to wait their turn to be fed, changed an bathed. Everyone loves a child who shows the compassion to share what they have with others and in doing so they learn the experience of having fun and making friends and enjoying the experience together. So whether it is crayons, books, food, a communal TV, or PC, the respect for other’s consideration is what allows us to interact successfully with others. Here is how you can help teach your young.

    • Teaching your child to take turns means actually, showing them physically. Your turn, my turn, your turn, my turn.
    • Teaching your child to play nicely is explaining what nicely is. No snatching, no saying mean things, no hurting others.
    • Don’t forget manners, when teaching our children about sharing. Please, may I and thank you for.
    • Set up the expectations so your children know what they can play with, and do not allow a dominant child to overrule. So, intervene when necessary.
    • If a child becomes irrational, or has a temper tantrum because they cannot get their own way; take them out of the situation so they can watch others play and explain to them why the others are having fun and then ask the child if they are ready to go back with the intentions of doing all that has been asked of them.
    • Acknowledge the efforts being made by your child and talk about the experience afterwards. For example, if it is your children all playing a board game, ask them how much fun they had when they all respected the rules and shared? This allows them to think about their own behaviour and actions and how they were responsible for the successful outcome of the experience.
    • Sometimes children are attached sentimentally to a gift received from a family member or something quite new they were given as a treat or birthday present. In respecting that that item is valuable to that child we can give them the choice in offering up all their other toys and games to play with and set that one aside.

Note: When at school or at a play group, letting them know that the games are there for everyone to enjoy and belong to someone else teaches them respect for other’s belongings and the fun we can have when we are given permission to use them.

Copywritten by Jo Frost

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