As adults, we know that being generous and “taking turns” are important life skills that have benefits in all aspects of life. However, preschoolers just learning how to socialize are still learning how to share, and may need help with the concept. Here are some ways you can help teach your preschooler about sharing.
Model good sharing behavior
Letting your child see how sharing works is an ideal way to help them understand. You may need to make it clear to your child that you are sharing. For example, if a friend offers you some of their lunch, you can accept it and say, “Thank you very much for sharing that with me.”
You can also demonstrate to your preschooler that you can share things like feelings, thoughts, and stories as well as objects.
Make sharing fun
You can help make the concept of sharing into an enjoyable game for your preschooler. Working on a puzzle or playing a cooperative game together are good ways to show your child that sharing with others, whether it’s a toy or their time, can be rewarding and enjoyable.
Allow your child to understand boundaries around sharing
Sharing is an important skill for preschoolers to learn, but it’s also important to learn that sometimes it’s okay not to share. For example, if your child has a favorite stuffed animal that’s very important to them, let them know it’s okay to put that toy away during a playdate and share other stuffed animals with their friend instead.
You can also teach your preschooler something to say if they’re not ready to share quite yet, like, “I’m still coloring in this book, but when I finish this picture, you can use it.” This can empower them to use their words.
Take sharing at their pace
Sharing will be a relatively new concept to your preschooler, so help them along and remain patient. Let them know that taking turns playing with a toy is only temporary, and the toy will still be theirs in the end. Encourage sharing rather than forcing it.
Helping your preschooler learn about sharing takes patience, but there are several strategies you can employ to help your child learn this important social skill.