Four ways to teach your toddler to share





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Until they’re about three years old, toddlers think that the world revolves around them. Basically, it’s not in their nature to share! But sharing can be learnt through teaching and practise, and having a good example to follow. Here are some simple ways to show your tot that sharing is caring…

1. Start early

Early toys provide first sharing opportunities, so practise taking turns with your child right from babyhood. For example, you might give your baby a rattle to shake then take it, shake it yourself and return it to him. This helps teach your little one that he can share and still have fun. Continue sharing with him when he’s a toddler, being verbal and giving lots of praise (“Can Mummy have a turn? Thanks for sharing...”). Keep things positive, trying not to give in to tantrums or get angry when he doesn’t want to hand things over. Be patient.

2. Share alike

Sharing your own things builds the concept of sharing, so avoid labelling everything as someone’s. Rather than saying, “That’s Mummy’s, don’t touch!” try saying, “That’s not a toy, no playing with it,” and give your child an alternative toy. Obviously some things are unsafe or precious, but otherwise try to share. Let him play with your keys, drink from your favourite cup or try on your shoes.

3. Family affair

Family playtime can be great preparation for sharing. When your child is playing with blocks, ask him, “Can Mum and Dad have some, too?” If he refuses, remove yourself briefly then try again. This teaches that sharing leads to more engagement and fun play.

4. Start small

Begin with less-favoured toys, and set firm rules that no sharing means the toys go away (bring them back out saying, “Let’s try again to share...”). This teaches that selfishness allows no fulfilment.