Des Moines, IA

8 Tips for Teaching How to Share

As a parent, there are probably a few words that you hear all too often, usually yelled at the top of your children’s vocal range. Words like “Mine” and “No”. When it comes to sharing, we not only find ourselves in battle with our children, but with our patience as well.

At every stage of development, children are learning new concepts, which can be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. As parents, it’s our job to help guide them through these concepts and teach them correct behavior.

The concept of sharing to a young child is pretty abstract. Think about the following situation:

Billy’s mom tells him to share his grapes with his younger sister. He does, but he doesn’t get any of the grapes back. Later on his mom asks him to share his train set with his friend. Billy is now reluctant because he’s worried he may not get the train set back, like the grapes.

Possessions and time are two concepts that go hand-in-hand with sharing that children are learning about. To make it more complicated for children, we then add in rules like what we don’t share, like our germs, underwear, etc.

So when it comes to teaching sharing, we recommend following these 8 tips:
  • Put away any specific toys that are very special or you know your child will put up a fight for if they are asked to share. Put them out of sight for the play date or if it’s a sibling, state they have to keep that special possession in their room.
  • Do put out toys you know your child is comfortable sharing. Toys they don’t play with much, or toys that more than one child can play with.
  • Change your language. Many kids associate sharing with something being taken away, but change your language to help them understand time. Use phrases such as “it’s your turn now” or “you need to wait until Billy is done playing and then you’ll get a turn.”
  • Plan games or activities that take two to help them play together and accomplish something together.
  • Listen, but don’t interfere unless necessary. Give them time to solve the problem on their own, but prompt if necessary. If they are fighting over the same toy, offer choices.
  • Praise when they do share.
  • Talk to them about sharing. Ask them questions like “Are you afraid you won’t get it back?” or “Are you worried you won’t get a turn?” Doing this helps them understand the emotions they are feeling and will help them understand others’ emotions when they are playing.
  • Teach ownership. Just like possessions they don’t want to share, teach them that others own their toys and aren’t always ready to share.

Look for opportunities as a parent to model good sharing behavior. It may be sharing your milkshake with your child or telling your spouse they can decide which show to watch. Children watch their parents and mimic behavior, so start setting the examples you want them to follow and continue being patient!




Location Info

Beaverdale School         Waukee School
2706 Beaver Ave.            215 N. Warrior Lane
Des Moines, IA 50310       Waukee, IA 50263
515-255-0095                  515-978-3000