How to Encourage Children to Share From an Early Age
Sharing is a very important skill in life for any individual, and it factor into any parent’s responsibility to teach and encourage their children to learn to share at an early age. Sharing goes a long way to helping achieve positive outcomes in life, whether for children or adults, making interaction with others easier both in work and leisure spaces. Sharing can be encouraged creatively, and since children love to play, you can use this to your advantage.
Children learn a lot through playing, developing several skills as they interact with their friends and toys. Children can learn social skills and how to express themselves by playing, particularly in a playground environment where they’re exploring new settings and tasks.
Practise makes perfect. To encourage your child to share, get involved in your child’s play times and try out games which require you to share, or a game that can be played in turns. This way, your child will learn to share by allowing you or any other person participating in the game to play their turn. Try planning games that will involve more people and also try using the word “share” in positive contexts throughout the day. Not only during play time can you encourage your child to share, but also in every other activity, for instance at meal time, especially if you are picking items for their plate from a central buffet style tray.
Even adults work best when motivated, but it’s particularly important to help your child learn through positive reinforcement, which can be done by praising and/or congratulating your child when he/she shares something. This will automatically motivate your child and encourage sharing, becoming a learned behaviour over time. Your child will want to share as they associate it with positive affirmation. By offering praise they will often be motivated and happy to share more.
Set a Good Example
Whether you notice it or not, your child looks up to you, will learn a lot from what you do, and will begin to imitate you in a host of different ways. Sharing appropriate food and drink, and particularly your time, with your child, will go a long way.
Don’t Overly-Punish your Child for not Sharing
As much as you want your child to learn sharing, it won’t come by constantly shouting or calling your child names such as, “selfish”. This can actually form a negative association for your child when they think of sharing, viewing it as forced. It can also create a rebellious attitude, so it’s much better to communicate with your child and try to find out why they don’t want to share, then you can explain to them why it’s important to share.
Teach your Child how to Express Themselves
Your child should learn how to express themselves with words. This will allow your child to use words when playing with other kids instead of just snatching their toys or commandeering the playground equipment. Your child will learn to explain to other kids why they should share, and model that behaviour to others.
Sharing is an important skill that takes time to develop, but once learnt it rarely goes away, and it often sets up youngsters to become the kind of people who can develop positive relationships both in the playground and throughout other areas of life.