Creative Child

When Children Won’t Share

by Rebecca Eanes


3. Play sharing games at home. I’m a big believer in teaching through play. Children absorb lessons well when they come through play, so practice with puppets or toys. For example, make two paper bag puppets and have puppet one hold a small toy. Puppet two asks, “Hey, can I play with that?” Puppet one says, “Yes, when I’m done, you can have a turn.” Puppet one plays with it for a few minutes and then finds something else that interests him, so he says, “Okay, I’m done. You can have a turn now” and hands the toy to puppet two. You might also consider baking cookies and taking them to a playdate to share or picking a handful of wildflowers and asking your child to hand one to brother, one to daddy, one to grandma, etc.

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4. Respect children’s needs and belongings. It’s okay to allow your child something that is all hers – something she doesn’t have to share. Some children develop attachments to toys, blankets, and stuffed animals that they feel very uncomfortable letting other children handle. Think of how you’d feel if someone abruptly came up to you and forced you to hand something over. In other words, be courteous to children. It’s how they learn to be courteous to others.

5. Provide examples of sharing. We are always the role model, and children learn more from watching us than from being forced to share. So, when you make a big bag of popcorn, you might say, “Would you like some? I’ll share with you.” Look for opportunities throughout the day to point out sharing in a positive manner. “I love sharing my cover with you while we read.” “Come sit with us, we’ll make room for you!” “When I’m finished with this, I’ll gladly give you a turn!”

As children grow and mature, they will be better able to control their impulses and think of meeting the needs of others. Until then, encourage them to take turns, model courtesy and generosity, and acknowledge them when they do give another child a turn or share something. “Thank you for giving Josie a turn! Look how happy she is!”

More great articles on sharing:

Nine Words to End Fights Over Toys by Not Just Cute

Can Kids Share? By Taming the Goblin

Generosity and 4-Year-Old Struggles with Sharing by AhaParenting

11 Ways to Teach Your Child to Share by Dr. Sears

Rebecca Eanes, is the founder of and creator of Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond. She is the bestselling author of 3 books. Her newest book,Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, is more than a parenting book, it's a guide to human connection. She has also written The Newbie's Guide to Positive Parentingand co-authored the book, Positive Parenting in Action: The How-To Guide to Putting Positive Parenting Principles in Action in Early ChildhoodShe is the grateful mother to 2 boys.


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