Teaching sharing is important because life is never going to be about just your child. Children need to learn to accept early that human beings live cooperatively and that they survive by helping each other. Sharing skills enrich a child’s character, teach them generosity, and make them likable people who are more likely to thrive in future situations. Being a good parent includes teaching children traits like kindness, empathy, and sharing to ensure they have happy, successful lives. After all these types of generous people make the best spouses, employees, friends and future parents! With that in mind, here are some tips for how to teach a child to share.
Why is Sharing Important?
Childhood is the only chance parents get to help their children grow up into well adjusted, happy adults. During this time is when children have the opportunity to learn to understand social behavior and how to form good relationships, a huge part of which is learning to work cooperatively and empathize with others. At some point, all of this requires some form of sharing, making sharing a vitally important social skill to teach children.
When to Start Teaching A Child To Share
As a child, sharing is an important aspect of making friends, having successful social interactions with peers and being successful in school. The younger the child, the more naturally self centered they will be. This makes it important to teach children sharing skills young so that bad habits don’t set in and become difficult to avert. Although most children don’t fully understand the concept of sharing until about three-years-old, until then it’s possible to use distractions to avoid conflicts by diverting their attention away from disputed items and onto new activities.
How To Teach Kids To Share
Point out the behavior. “Did you see how Suzy shared the seat with her friend? That was really kind.” Play games where you take short turns so they get the familiar with the concept of you go, then I go, they you can go again, and I can go again.
Model Sharing. You can model the sharing behavior and talk about it when you do it too. Take a bite of something and then say, “Now I will share with you too. It is nice to share.”
Give praise. Even before your child may intentionally be sharing, you can notice if they put down a toy and another child picks it up and say, “That was really nice of you to share and let them have a turn.”
Explain the other point of view. When children are old enough, it is good to explain the value of sharing. Children can begin to understand that being willing to share can show that you are friendly and want to be friends. They can begin to understand that sharing is a nice way to welcome someone new and make them feel comfortable.
It’s important to note that although sharing is an important skill, it’s unrealistic to expect young children to share all their most prized possessions. Even children deserve to have their feelings and opinions respected, and a good way to show them theirs are is by allowing them a few special items which they aren’t expected to share and which even adults must get the child’s permission to handle. Knowing they have special items which are off limits to others will help them accept that they are required to share their other toys or items and will also help them understand why it’s important to respect other people’s property or special items.
Teaching Sharing Skills Pays Off
As an adult it may not seem like sharing is as important a skill to have; however, it is still of vital importance, just in different ways than it was as a child. One basic example is in relationships with significant others. Often times in these relationships there are items which must be shared such as a television, a car and of course the living space. Many couples have broken up over one or both people’s lack of ability to share.
Selfish behaviors that weren’t corrected as a child are then carried into adulthood. These selfish behaviors give others the impression that they are self-centered and materialistic, and that they place the importance of things above other people. Teaching a child to share will help them cope and adapt to an adult life where they’re expected to be more accommodating and amicable. Instilling these types of important family values at a young age allow them to function better and enjoy people more.
I hope you find these tips helpful for how to teach a child to share. Do you have any funny stories to share about your child learning to share? We’d love to hear them @familyfocusblog!