Sharing is an essential skill. By sharing, we can maintain friendships and live in harmony with others. Sharing teaches children compromise, fairness, and gratitude. “Thank you for sharing your toy truck with me. Would you like to play with my teddy bear?” Sharing like this sends an important message to the child – gratitude is a process of coming and going. We give to others, and we receive in return. Sharing also teaches us two very important life skills, which is negotiating with people and how to deal with disappointment.
- The role model of parental behavior
When a child is very young, he/she observes the behavior of parents and family members. Growing up, if a child is always on the receiving end of generosity, he or she is more likely to repeat this interpersonal interaction later on. If your child grows up and observes that you are often sharing and warm with others, he or she will also imitate your behavior to those around them.
Children often exhibit a behavior known as “fake sharing.” That is, he/she will take something out for others to use, but he/she doesn’t let it go. In fact, this is a very important step before children can truly share. Parents can praise their children by saying, “You are so kind, thank you for showing Aunt Lily the toy car.”
With your child, be lenient and use positive facilitation. This is more effective than punishing the child and confiscating his toys. If your child is reluctant to share with others, don’t force your child to share. He/she is just doing his/her age-appropriate behavior and is still in the process of learning to share. A better way than punishment is for parents to acknowledge their child’s efforts. Gradually, the child will be influenced by the positive psychology of positive promotion and will be willing to repeat the behaviors that bring happiness to others. It won’t be long before sharing will also come naturally to children.
- How can children learn to share independently?
● Caring for children and other members of the family. Caring is a way of showing others that you care.
● Play a game of “take turns”. For example: “Red plasticine for you. Can I have some blue?”
● Share with your child and your partner in everyday scenarios: “I made popcorn, do you want it?”. “We’ve reserved a place for you, sit with us.”
● Give your child some blocks or toys and let your child share it with the rest of the house. “One for Dad, one for Mom.” This advice is premised on making sure you do the same yourself.
● Role play with dolls. This is a great way for children to learn how to perceive the emotions of others.
● Encourage communication and affirm emotions. Ask your significant other in front of your child, “How are you feeling today?” Then ask your child the same. You can also point out other people’s emotions to your child, such as: “Look at that girl on the swing, she looks so happy!”
● Play games with your child that have fewer rules and more than one winner.
● Infiltrate sharing in daily life. For example, “Let’s eat this banana together. You eat half and I eat the other half.”