This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kids II. All opinions are 100% mine.
We’ve all been there…Christmas morning, a birthday party, or the neighbor kids coming over for a play date. “It’s MY turn!” “No fair!” “I want to play with it!” And the chaos ensues. Teaching a child to share is a parenting moment none can escape and yet it is essential to our child’s overall happiness and success in life. Children are wired to be selfish from the beginning and their little world literally revolves around them. In fact, one of the first words we hear toddlers say is “Mine!” It isn’t until around 2.5 or 3 that a child switches from solitary/parallel play to wanting to play with others.
So how to we nurture generosity within them when it is against their natural selves?
Monkey see monkey do.
Let your child see you demonstrate ways to share and how it can spread happiness around you. You could demonstrate this by sharing a bowl of popcorn, inviting your child to sit with you and enjoy a show, opening a new bag of toys and sharing with everyone in the room.
Give them the opportunity to share happiness.
Next time you are sharing a treat or something special that everyone wants a part of, include your child by letting them pass the item out to everyone. You could encourage those you are with to praise the child when sharing. “Thank you so much for sharing Jackson!”
Be okay with your child protecting their favorite things.
We all have things that are extra special to us and wouldn’t want to pass around the room and that is okay. You wouldn’t want to have your wedding ring handled by everyone in the room because it is special and you would want to keep it safe. There may be a few toys that your child values like a diamond ring and it is okay for them to keep it in a special place. I remind my kids that if they don’t want to share that special something then they need to keep it away and out of sight from their siblings or other friends so it doesn’t create a fight. This rule especially applies if they have a special treat they don’t want to share. I warn them that if it comes out when siblings are around it needs to be shared, especially if the child is using that treat and “rubbing it in the other’s face.” Sorry bud, now you are sharing that twinkie.
Make it a game.
For young children you may want to try turning sharing into a game until they are old enough to govern themselves. This could mean setting a timer for two minutes and once those two minutes are up the toy goes to the next person. You could also have them practice waiting patiently until the child is ready to give up the item to their friend. At times this can be a painful experience, but it is necessary!
Make a plan.
If you have children coming over and you know that your child wont want to share their newest toy from their birthday last week, put the toy away or suggest that the friends coming bring some of their favorite toys to play.
Seize teaching moments.
If your child comes home and complains about not wanting to play at another person’s house because they wouldn’t share say, “I am so glad you can share with your friends. It can be hard to do some times, but it makes playing with friends a lot more fun!” This idea applies more to your children that are 5+. When a younger child turns 3-4 they are now able to begin sympathizing. This a developing skill and the time that you can talk to your preschooler how it makes another sad just like it makes them sad when someone wont share. In our home I will ask the older siblings to help teach their younger siblings how to share but that doesn’t mean it is always easy. A new shiny toy can be hard for anyone to share when your child feels they are missing out.
One of our awesome readers suggests this, “I have the BEST tip ever….seriously the best. Here it is….when your kids are playing with something and another child wants to play with it have that child ask this simple question, “can I have a turn when you’re done?”. Here’s the crazy part, the kid won’t want to ask the question because they “think” the other child will obviously say no, but I have found in my preschool experience that 95% of the time the other child will say, “sure!” After the simple question has been asked and answered you just reaffirm that it was as simple as that and they will let you know when they are done playing with it. And trust me a lot of children do actually remember to tell the other child they are done. Both kids feel validated in this scenario and you don’t have to force or make anyone feel bad sharing. I remind kids to ask this way multiple times a week in preschool and I rarely have sharing problems.”
Encourage imagination and interactive play.
There are certain toys that allow for more imagination and creativity where children can play together like the Go Grippers Collection for Oball. I love that these toys come with multiple cars and tracks that can be used in different ways within their collection. Kids II toys are easy to hold and race down the track or pile onto the dump trucks, loaders or car carriers. The bounce and zoom speedway was their favorite!
Enter to win this entire Go Grippers collection by commenting and telling us your favorite way to help children share or which toy your child would like the best!
If you don’t want to take your chances and you’re ready to just buy the whole set, you can purchase them here!
One tip that has really helped us is if we bring a few of our favorite toys together. For example, these toys may be overrun by a group of dinosaurs or put into a Lego community for a construction site. Admittedly sometimes I will have to come up with these creative ideas of how to bring the worlds together, but now my oldest son is able to create scenarios like this for them as they play.
My son has been taking these cars around the house every where we go! And now that he has had some special time to play with it alone, we make sure that everyone in the house can enjoy them now. Just remember, that above all it takes patience as a parent to teach generosity, but it is time well spent!