Children, particularly younger children, find it very difficult to share things – and there’s nothing wrong with it. This is because this inability to share is a normal part of a child’s development process. Acknowledging this is the first step that you need to take if you wish to help your child grow up to be a generous person.
During the first two to three years of your child’s life, he will move from oneness to separateness. You will notice that he has established a separate identity, and phrases like “it’s mine!” and “I’ll do it myself” have taken over. For your child to grow up to be an emotionally healthy person, it is extremely important for him to form strong bonds with things and people alike. But at the same time, it is necessary for your child to also understand the importance of sharing. Here’s an overview of how you can encourage your child to share:
Never force him to share
We see a lot of people forcing their kids to share their toys with other children. Some even go to the extent of showing anger in case their kids refuse to do so. This isn’t how you should take things. Instead, you must focus on creating an environment that makes your child want to share. Remember, what seems like “just a toy’ to you is a valuable possession for your child. Acknowledge this and respect his possessiveness as you model and encourage sharing. Keep an eye on your child as he plays in a group setting, so you can learn about the kind of guidance he requires. If your child is a “grabber”, he will soon realize that the other kids will not want to play with him. In case he’s the victim, you must teach him the importance of saying “no”. With a bit of help from you, your kid will soon learn how smoothly life will pass as long as he shares.
Model generosity – you are your child’s best teacher
Monkey see, monkey do. The little monkey will share if the big monkey does so. When someone wishes to borrow something from you, take the moment and teach him about sharing. Tell him, “Mommy is sharing her cookbook”. This is what will make sharing shine. While you are at it, you must also share with your child. Things like, “Want some of my chips?” will definitely prove helpful.
Plan things ahead
In your case little one has trouble sharing and he has a playmate coming over, make sure that you get in touch with the playmate’s parents and ask them to send over a few of his toys too. Remember, children find it extremely hard to resist new toys. This will help your child learn that he has to share his own toys too.
No matter the situation, it is important for you to give your child a bit of time and space to learn about sharing. Do not expect him to start sharing his things the day you start teaching him to do so. When he does, make sure that you appreciate him.