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  • Writer's pictureDr. V.S. Gayathri

How To Make Your Child Learn About Sharing?

“Life has taught me that respect, caring and love must be shared, for it's only through sharing that friendships are born.” – Donna A. Favors

We have all grown up learning by the virtue of ‘sharing is caring’. And, we wish to instill the same in our kids too. It is one of the basic social skills that form the basis of interpersonal relationships. Simply put, it will help them make and keep friends.

According to a study, young kids have a strong tendency to cooperate. Another research has shown that fair sharing behavior is a skill typically learned between the ages of four and six.

Many parents might feel hassled seeing that their toddler is not willing to share toys with others, but this gradually passes by over time and with proper guidance.

Research finds kids share when it's done by choice. So, it is important to nurture or aid them to make that choice.

Children need to learn the importance of sharing, not just when they are young, but how it will impact them later in life. At ages 3-4, they slowly begin to develop empathy and recognize the need to take turns. However, they are not mature enough to resist and manage emotions. So, it is important for parents, caregivers, and educators to carefully tackle their emotions and use strategies that will effectively make them understand sharing.

It is needless to explain WHY kids need to learn and imbibe the art of sharing, so we will focus on HOW to make your child understand its importance.

Here are some simple tips to make your child share and take turns.

1. Be a role model: Kids usually tend to imitate what they observe and see in their environment. Set an example by sharing things. Let them know you share your books with your friends and give away your old clothes to the needy. Show them other examples from around.

2. Talk to them about taking turns: As and when your child is ready to learn, teach them the concept of turn-taking. While you are playing, keep passing a ball or a toy back and forth and mention, “your turn now.” Follow it up with “mom’s turn now” to encourage and familiarize them with the whole idea of sharing.

3. Don’t force them: Create the right environment that motivates your child to share. Respect their possessiveness while you imbibe in them the virtues and importance of sharing. Observing how your child behaves in a group setting will give you a perspective into what kind of guidance they need. Give them time and don’t rush them into actions by scolding or reprimanding.

4. Praise their actions: It is always good to remind children that being generous and compassionate towards others is a good deed. If they agree to share something, appreciate their action. They will feel motivated and appreciated and would want to do it over and over again.

5. Use learning resources: Use books, movies, stories, and videos to make them understand sharing. They will learn better if you show them rather can just telling them. Read to them stories or show picture books that highlight sharing. Watch children’s movies together which talk about sharing. You can also plan some fun activities or games to explain how sharing and taking turns work and give them cues about actions they must learn.

6. Handle their emotions: As you encourage and model good sharing and turn-taking, it is necessary to respect their possessiveness. Respect the ownership while still seeking their permission to allow others to use their prized possessions. Ease them into sharing if they find it difficult to let go - it’s ok to help guard them until your child, especially at the preschool age is ready.

You will be surprised to know that a study found that counting skills are strongly related to sharing behavior and that counting prompts can promote better performance on both numerical and sharing tasks.

Take small steps and be patient with your child to help them that sharing is truly a skill that will take them a long way in life.


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