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Teaching Your Child How To Share

The holiday season meant the arrival of new toys. Many parents get upset that their children don’t want to share their toys. Here are some things to help:

Practice the Golden Rule
When your child receives a gift it becomes their personal possession. A toy truck may not seem like a big deal to you, but in a child’s world that truck is as valuable and important as your new car. Respect their right to choose not to share.

Encouragement
We can only build on strengths. When you see that your child is sharing; or if someone is sharing with your child, make mention of how that sharing is beneficial and helpful. Notice that sharing can make for even more fun. Ignore or down play when they are deciding to be "less generous".

Planning, Order and Routines
Ask your child to put those special toys that they would prefer not to share in their private place – usually their bedroom. Toys left out in a common area are for common use. Everyone can share these toys.

Offer Choice
"You may bring your truck out of your room and share it, or play with something else in the play room – you decide".

Apply Logical Consequences (logical to the child about social living)
The logical consequence of wanting to play with a special toy (one that you don’t want to share) is that you must play with it in your private room. Many children find this boring, and would prefer the company of others – enough so in fact – that they may decide it is a better decision to share and have a playmate.

TTFT (Take time for training)

Children need to learn the social graces of sharing. Spend your parenting energies on training rather than correcting and disciplining!

Work with the children to show them how to ask for turns and work collaboratively as the children work through some simple problem solving such as:

  • Agreeing on how long one person’s turn should be
  • Determining a way to know when a turn is over

In the end, a children who feels a sense of control and security over their possessions will actually be more willing to share them than if you snatch them away and tell them to "be a nice boy and share or else…"

About Alyson

Alyson has been blogging parenting advice for over 15 years. She has been a panelist at BlogWest, Blissdom, #140NYC and more. Her content appears on sites across Canada and the US, but you can read all her own blog posts right here.

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