Children who learn the value of sharing at an early age will mature into balanced and well-adjusted adults who are focused on helping others. Your toddler may have natural instincts to keep their belongings for their own enjoyment, especially as they reach the terrible twos stage of life. However, it’s important to let this phase pass quickly by incorporating acts of kindness and generosity into their everyday activities.
Ask to Borrow a Favorite Toy
If your child has a favorite toy, you can relay the importance of sharing by asking to borrow it. Whether you tell them you’re going to take it to work and show your co-workers or you want to bring it to a family gathering, you’ll get the opportunity to explain the importance the gift of sharing can bring to an individual.
It’s natural for childhood squabbles to occur over a toys or a favorite belonging when children play together. However, you can ease their tempers by having your child offer it to others to play with for a certain amount of time. When the clock says it’s time to give it back, it can go to the next person to play with. This can be done until everyone has gotten a fair amount of time to play with the item.
In the same manner that you purchase learning toys for toddlers in order to teach them age appropriate skills, it is a good idea to create opportunities for your child to practice sharing and being kind to others.
Set a Good Example
You can be a good role model for your child by setting a good example. When your toddler witnesses you sharing your food, clothing, cooking utensils and yard equipment, they’ll follow your lead. You can do this by sharing items with your spouse, children, friends, family members and neighbors.
Items of Value
If your child has a few prized possessions such as a favorite teddy bear, blanket or ball, you can give them the go ahead to hide them before a play date. However, you need to set the ground rules ahead of time and let them know that the remaining toys and items that are left behind are fair game and should be shared.
Refrain from Punishments
Try not to punish a child for failing to share. You can express your sadness and disappointment in their lack of sharing, but you should never make it into a big deal. Your child will eventually learn the importance of sharing, and the repercussions if they don’t when they hang out with their friends. They’ll eventually come around when they realize the happiness and joy it can bring to another person.
The Importance of Friendship
While certain belongings may hold value and should be cherished, you’ll find other objects to be replaceable. This is the ideal time to teach your child that friendships and getting along with others proves far more favorable than the actual object. While it doesn’t mean that they have to give everything they own away, you want to express the importance of being generous to those less fortunate.
A toddler who refuses to share their favorite doll or truck doesn’t mean to be cruel. Unfortunately, they’re just acting normal for their age. The good part is that sharing is a learned trait that they’ll develop over the course of their toddler years. With a little practice, encouragement and by setting a good example, your toddler will learn the value of sharing.