Wow, after doing some research on sharing, I see that my views are very different from other parents. Although our views may vary on how to raise a child who shares, these parenting hacks are for when your kids won’t share.
I read articles that say something like, “I don’t teach my child to share,” or “Why sharing is dumb.” Just kidding. However, they basically say that they don’t make their kids share.
These moms advise that when they make their kids share, that it is not genuine. I agree here in a sense. I don’t force my kids to apologize to each other for this very reason.
A few things they consider is that they want to catch their kids doing “good.” They want their kids to build healthy boundaries so they want to respect when their child says “no.”
I agree with most of this. I get where they are coming from. It’s just many parents I have come in contact with who do not encourage their kids to share, find it hard when other kids don’t share with their children.
So, there has to be some give here, right? We can’t completely not teach our kids to share. How will they know the right way to react?
We have to teach them in the way they should go. It’s tough, I know. However, what we can do is do our best to teach our kids what sharing is.
Before our children are two, these types of situations can be difficult. Developmentally, when our kids are that little they can’t really grasp the concept of sharing just yet.
I have read that before, so it’s not only my opinion.
When they are able to comprehend this concept, somewhat, we can then start helping them to learn the art of sharing. This is a learned behavior and guess what, kids may not always be perfect at it.
BUT . . . we surely can help them with it.
Check out some parenting hacks for when your kids won’t share.
Be an example.
This is a hack because sometimes we forget to share ourselves. Build a home where you share with those in need. Kids will learn throughout their growing years by your example.
Again, use the words sharing and taking turns often. “Mommy is going to share her popcorn with everyone.” “Daddy gets the first turn to scoop up the mash potatoes, then you can have your turn.”
If you have multiple children needing to practice sharing, use a timer.
A visual timer can be a handy tool for kids to understand that when their time is up they have to hand over their item.
This allows your little ones to see how much time they have. It allows them and to self-regulate and turn their attention to something else.
With visual timers, kids learn to wait and build patience.
Let there be a struggle.
Chill out some when things like this happen. If a child snatches a toy from your kids or vice versa, let it play out a bit, and don’t overreact.
If you have to step in (biting attempts or hitting is imminent), be calm don’t make a big deal.
Redirect them and tell the kids they need to share, take turns, or play with something else. Be sure to state this calmly and keep it moving.
Praise every time (every time) they share while they are young.
This goes such a long way. When we are in the midst of teaching our learners how to share, we have to be attentive when they are practicing this out.
Positive reinforcement goes a long way here. Use the words” sharing” and “take turns” often.
It takes a while to make sharing a habit, but we can surely minimize how our children react to getting toys taken away from them.
Encourage kids to use their words.
This really is in everything. When my kids were little, I constantly encouraged them to use their words when they had strong feelings.
It encourages them to search for words to describe how they are feeling. It is wise to do this when kids need to share.
Instead of throwing a tantrum and crying, you remain calm and ask them to use their words.
This often takes their mind off of their feelings, and they self-direct to another toy.
It also helps you understand the why behind their behavior and helps you see more of what may really be going on.
Never, ever put your kids down or lose your cool as they are learning to share.
It is important to not make learning to share a bad memory. Don’t attack their character or be ashamed of your kid.
This developmental skill is not inherent. Don’t call them selfish or naughty. These terms and verbiage do ZERO for your child except teach them through negative reinforcement. That is a no-no.
Don’t give your kids so much “stuff.”
I know this is difficult. However, as kids get older (3+) don’t give them things during a play date, for example.
They don’t always need to have things to keep them occupied. Let kids use their imagination, run, and play.
Allow your kids to explore and enjoy interaction with other kids without toys. When we don’t always give our kids toys and items to keep them occupied, they place less value on them. This helps when you teach them about sharing.
Explore activities to encourage sharing at home:
FREE Printable Turn-Taking & Sharing Social Scripts For Kids | And Next Comes L
Sharing Time FREE Assignment Cards | Party Like a Cherry
Pass the Ice Cream: Sharing Activity for Preschoolers | Sunny Day Family
How to Teach Your Children to Share – FREE printable | Printable Parents
ABC Fishing Preschool Activity Bag | Homeschool Share
5 Fun Mindfulness Activities for Kids – FREE Printables | Beauty and the Bump NYC
Teach Kids To Share With The Sharing Ball | What We Do All Day
Creative Ways to Teach Sharing | Parents
FREE Printable Guide to Encourage Sharing in Children | Mama Instincts
Read books about sharing:
Check out these books to teach your kiddos about generosity and sharing:
Books About Generosity For Kids | Meaningful Mama
7 Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Share (Including A Book List) | Feels Like Home Blog
Watch some videos to share with your kids — about sharing ;-) :
Sharing Song | CoComelon Nursery Rhymes
Children Sharing and Learning to Share | Raising Children
Sharing Video For Kids – Cartoons for Children | Toddler Fun Learning
Cookie Sharing | Sesame Street
So, I don’t “force” my children to share either. However, I do make it a priority to teach my kids to control their reactions, focus on other things, and learn how to share whenever it is appropriate.
Hopefully one day, our kids will be able to share the most important thing in this world . . . they can share Christ.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!