Does your child find it difficult to share his belongings with others or even his own siblings? Don’t worry; it is a natural part of his growing-up process. Though kids may begin to understand the concept of sharing by the age of 3, it may take them a few more years to practice the quality with all their hearts. They may do it a little grudgingly in the beginning, but they will eventually learn.
Here are 12 simple but effective tricks you can try at home to teach your kids how to share.
- Take it light
When a child doesn’t share his favorite toy with others or snatches a toy from his friends, the parents feel embarrassed. As a result, they show their anger toward their kids. Some go to the extent of punishing or beating their kids when they don’t share their things with others. Never do this with your kid, because you are only making him defensive this way. Instead, use positive words to explain why he needs to share. You need to be patient with him because kids take a lot of time to part with their favorite items.
- Understand the child’s state of mind
Why does a kid feel hesitant to share his toys or belongings with others? It is because he is naturally selfish. He is possessive about things that belong to him, and you have to accept that this is his natural behavior. While you encourage him to play with other kids, exchange toys with each other, and other cooperative activities, you must always respect this natural selfishness and possessiveness within your kid. This way, you will be able to train him better than before.
- Games can be entertaining
Kids have to learn the quality of empathy first if they have to learn how to share. Empathy is the quality of putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Empathy is not common even among adults; so, it is only natural that kids will take time to imbibe this quality in them. You can make it easy for them by conducting fun games with their pals. Ensure that the games focus on working together than competing with one another.
- Perks of sharing
More often than not, kids hold on to their belongings tightly and refuse to share the same with their friends, because they think sharing means parting with their favorite toys. You need to get this idea out of their heads. You can encourage him to share by explaining the perks of sharing. It would help if you told your kid that he could also play with other toys shared by his friends when he shares his toys. Encourage your kids to take turns sharing their toys with their friends. When he gets new toys to play with, even for some time, he will become quite open to sharing his belongings.
- Build a strong connection
Studies conducted by child experts have proved that kids who receive an attachment-parenting style in their first 2 years are more open to sharing their belongings than other kids. So, if you want your kids to become better individuals and develop sharing, caring & empathy, you should take enough effort to be a giver yourself during the early years of your child.
- Let the kids handle the squabble
Even if you practice all the tricks in the book, it may take your child some time to accept the concept of sharing. Sometimes, while playing the game, your kid might hold on to a toy very tightly, leading to a fight between the kids. When a quarrel happens, give the kids some time to figure it out themselves. One of the kids will voluntarily make an effort to arrive at an amicable solution at this stage. Step in, only if you notice that the fight may take an ugly turn.
- Plan for play dates
If you plan a play date for your kid, you can ask the visiting child to bring along some toys. Your kid will be thrilled that he can play with his friend’s new toys if he shares some of his toys. Similarly, even when you send your kid to his friend’s house, always pack a few toys in his bag. Kids cannot resist the urge to play with new toys.
- Practice sharing yourself
Kids learn a lot from their parents. So, if you want to teach your kids how to share, you should practice it yourself. Share your chocolate or ice cream with your kids and spouse, so that your kid can watch and learn. Share your old clothes with people who may need them. Use the words, “share” and “empathy” often, when you communicate with them.
- Start at an early age
You should start teaching your kids the concept of sharing at an early age. According to child psychology experts, as soon as your kid learns to grip things, you can teach him to share. The best way to make him share is to take turns. You can encourage him to give his toy to you when it is your turn to hold it, and then you can pass the toy back to him when it is his turn. These small exchanges help kids to share their things openly, as they grow up.
- Make your child open up to you
If your kid doesn’t want to share his things, he can go into his shell easily, even when he is in the midst of his friends. He can get irritated and disappointed if you force him to share his belongings. When you notice your child getting cross, you should encourage him politely to open up to you. You should ask him why he is uncomfortable sharing, while also explaining to him the benefits of sharing. Never let your child get away with his cross-attitude.
- Don’t force him to share his favorite toys
Usually, kids are unusually possessive about that one particular toy that they don’t want others to touch. When you organize play dates or cooperative games, keep those special toys away to avoid disputes among the kids. Don’t force him to share something very dear to him, even if it is for a brief time.
- Make them contribute to charity
On long weekends or vacations, take your kids to orphanages or medical centers to show them the life people there are leading. You can encourage your kids to donate their old toys, books, or clothes to the needy and tell them that sharing is caring, after all!