A child’s first word is usually “dada” then “mama”, and then “mine” follows closely behind. Sharing doesn’t come naturally to children and seems to only get harder during the preschool years. For many children, preschool is the first social setting that they’re truly immersed in, which can be a tough transition in terms of sharing. When a child is used to playing at home, they don’t have to share toys very often. That’s not the case when they go to preschool, however. There they will have plenty of opportunities to develop their sharing skills.
Sharing truly is a skill that children have to develop. It may not come naturally but that doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to be great sharers. It just takes some practice! To help, we have compiled a list of things that you can do with your child to encourage sharing. Whether to prepare them for preschool or to help them develop their sharing skills.
Tips for teaching your child to share:
- Model the behavior.
Kids learn best by watching and imitating, so model the behavior. Be intentional about sharing right in front of them, and make it obvious. Make it over the top or even silly to really drive home the point.
- Narrate the behavior.
Another important piece to modeling the behavior is to narrate what’s happening as you’re sharing. “I see that you’re sharing your doll with your sister.” “I enjoy sharing my snack with you.” Narration will help your preschooler learn to connect the word with the behavior. It helps the concept become more concrete for them.
- Praise the behavior
When you see your child successfully sharing with another child, make sure to comment on it. “Great job sharing your toys with your brother.” “I saw that you shared your snack with your friend. That was really nice.” Whatever is praised gets repeated!
- Take turns
Taking turns is a great way to practice sharing. Whether it’s taking turns rolling a ball back and forth or playing a game, taking turns helps children learn to share time and opportunity, as well as objects. It also teaches them patience and how to encourage others. Bonus!
- Read a book or watch a show
There are so many great resources for kids that encourage sharing. It could be a book you read together or an episode of Daniel Tiger that you watch together and discuss afterward. Sometimes it helps children to see a creative example of sharing.
- Use food as an illustration
Food can be a great way to illustrate sharing. Have your child help you slice and divvy up pizza as a way to share with family. Or name them “official snack helper” and have them put fruit in a bowl for each person.
- Take advantage of social situations
Every playdate with friends or Sunday morning spent in kids’ church is an opportunity to learn to share. The more you can expose them to social situations, the more opportunity they will have to learn to share with friends.
- Don’t intervene too quickly
Preschoolers are quick learners. Sometimes they need the opportunity to work it out amongst themselves. Oftentimes, kids will struggle for a minute over a toy and then choosing the option to share on their own. Intervene when you need to, but allow them to work it out on their own first. They might surprise you!
Sharing may seem like a trivial preschool issue, but it truly is a necessary skill that they will use throughout their lives. If they can get the hang of sharing in preschool, it’ll be that much easier on them in kindergarten and elementary school, and so on. Try a few of the tips listed and see how it helps your child to share.
Check out our blog for other tips and tricks for your preschooler!