Sharing is one the most difficult thing to teach. However, it is an important skill, and everybody really needs to learn it especially our children.
Most important thing is to remember, it is best to start teaching them to share once they reach 24 months old or almost 2 years old. It is very normal for toddlers to not want to share. According to Piaget, a developmental psychologist, toddlers are egocentric. Meaning, once they like something, they would never want to let it go or either share to others. It is totally normal for your child not wanting to share.
Below are the stages on teaching how to share to our children:
Stage 1 – Teach trading with identical items
- You can do trading when you have 2 identical objects. Let’s say you are doing an arts & crafts activity. You can have 2 glue sticks. Trading is a good way to start because this is not as upsetting to the children. When you release the glue stick from their hands, they would also receive the same item that you have traded with. If you use, different it may disappoint some because the one being traded might be his/her favorite color. So use identical object to be safe. Get them used to releasing items. It is best to do this with an adult first. Don’t use trading to other kids yet. Get them to do trading with mommy or daddy before trying it to another child. When they release that object, instantly reward then. “Wow! Good trading! I like that.” Always name it. The acting of trading, the word trading.Later, when you want them to trade with you or to another child they are going to remember, “Oh yeah, when daddy said trade and I released it, he rewarded me, I am going to do it.” Once they’re used to it we can go to the second stage.
Stage 2 – Trade with different items
- Now, you can try 2 different items. This doesn’t have to mean one airplane and one car. You can use same object but different color. This is because colors can give different meaning to the child especially when it is their favorite color. Follow the same steps with stage 1 but choose items with different colors, shapes and sizes. Always be consistent in praising them. “Good trading!”. Once your child mastered trading with you or with another child, you can talk about “Sharing” which is the next stage.
Stage 3 – Sharing
- For this stage, you can already have one item for your child to share with. This is where turn taking and sharing take place. This can be really hard for toddlers to let go when they are not immediately going to get the item back. It requires them to be empty-handed and to wait. If you (adult) are practicing with them, always count. Counting helps children how long they needed to wait. Most likely, the child might cry and it’s normal especially at the start. If they’re still upset, count shorter. From 5, make it 3. Then praise when they waited. Start with a short waiting time and once used to it, lengthen it. You can use other methods like timers. Timers got sounds and when they hear it, they can’t argue with the sound.
These are the stages of teaching your children on sharing. Hope this helps! Happy sharing!