Sharing isn’t a natural instinct for most of us. When we’re in the toddler stage, we want everything for ourselves, so sharing is a skill that has to be taught.
We’ve gathered a few ideas to help you make those play dates happier and more enjoyable for everyone, as you teach sharing.
- Understand developmental stages. Babies under 2 aren’t yet ready to share. Their little brains aren’t capable of thinking how others feel. It’s hard to wait, but let your little one play alongside friends, rather than expecting them to play with them.
- Model sharing. Little ones learn by watching. When they see you sharing, they’ll try to emulate. If you use the word “share”to describe what you’re doing, your tot will pick it up even faster.
- Encourage almost-sharing. Many times children will show a toy to a friend, but not quite let it go. They’re making progress, so you can encourage that behavior by praising them for showing the toy. Later, suggest that your little one go get the toy he or she showed to a friend and let the friend play with it.
- Set a timer. Tell your tot that you’re going to set a timer for 10 minutes, and when it goes off it’s time to let someone else play with the toy.
- Set expectations. When you head out to a play date, tell your little one to “Get 3 toys you won’t mind sharing with your friends.”If an incident arises at the play date, remind your tot that these are toys to share.
- Put away special toys. We all have special items we don’t want to get damaged. Kids are no different. If you’re hosting a play date, let your tot know that he or she can put away super-special toys for safekeeping. But those toys can’t come out while the visitors are there.
Have you come up with successful ways to encourage your little one to share? We’d love to hear your tips!