Sometimes children have trouble sharing. It’s natural to have difficulties understanding why they should give up on their toys or sweets if they like them. They don’t think too much about it since their instinct tells them to take and use the things they own and like for as long as they please. Don’t spend too much time judging you child since he is not being mean or disrespectful on purpose. He is just following his instinct and is confused by the fact that those around him don’t understand his needs.
No matter how many toys your child has or how many sweets are around, sometimes your child and other children around him will want the exact same thing. Managing this situation can become frustrating and will usually leave one of the children grumpy. So teach your child to share, in order to avoid uncomfortable situations in the future.
- Share with those around you. Be a role model for your child and show him that sharing is a natural and positive behavior. Reflect on your own behavior before having expectations from your child. They will copy your way of doing things so if you are egotistical, chances are that your child is exactly the same.
- Don’t put labels on your child. Don’t call him names or use labels as “mean” or “egotistical”. This will make him believe them and act in a way that confirms them.
- Start while he is still very young. Everything is learned faster and easier if you start as early as possible. So mention how important sharing is from an early age.
- Use a timer. You can use a timer sometimes in order to show kids that they get to keep a certain object for the same amount of time. This makes them understand that they get a fair treatment.
- Use replacements and rewards. Sharing doesn’t necessarily mean that he is losing something. So if he gives up on one toy he might get another. The easiest way to teach him how to compromise would be by letting him see that if he gives up on one thing, he can get another that is equally interesting or even more interesting. However, don’t make this a routine because he will get to a point where he won’t give up on thing without getting something else in return and this won’t be possible every time.
- Don’t force him to share. Even if sharing is a positive behavior it doesn’t mean he should share everything he has, every time somebody asks him to. Try to find balance between the times he plays with things and the time he shares. He might get to a point where he feels his needs are not important and he should just give up on everything he enjoys anytime somebody else asks him to.
- Provide a secure attachment and connection. Children that experience a positive attachment while growing up, don’t get so attached to objects. They have a higher self-esteem and don’t need objects to validate their self-worth.
- Use games that teach sharing. There are games that make sharing look fun and rewarding. This could be a good tool to make him familiar with this behavior in a positive context.
- Take his needs seriously. Don’t belittle his feelings and needs. He might feel a strong attachment to particular things and you should respect that.
- Acknowledge when he does share. Pay attention and praise him for sharing. This will encourage this positive behavior.