How to Teach Your Child to Share

“It’s mine!” “I had it first!” “I want a turn!”  “You can’t use my stuff.” “You already had a chance.” If any of those sound familiar, you’re not alone. Not sharing is a very common problem with kids. And of course you’d like to change their behavior by telling them to share with others. Unfortunately, just telling your child to play nice won’t always change your child’s behavior. You need to show your child how to share and help him understand why it’s important to do so.

Here are some tips to encourage your child to share.

1. Prioritize sharing. If you want your child to share, focus on the concept of “fairness” in your home. Use examples like “Everyone gets a turn.” "You sat in the front seat yesterday." "Now it’s your sister’s turn."

2. Emphasize the value of sharing. This will motivate your child to repeat his behavior. You can make comments like, "Did you see your sister's smile when you shared your toy with her. You made her happy" or "Your brother really appreciated it when you shared your candy with him. That was very nice of you."

3. Teach by example. Offer her the largest pizza slice, share an inexpensive bracelet that your child knows you love, or express how much you enjoy sharing with others because it makes both parties happy.

4. Play “My turn, your turn.” Get on the floor with your child and gently roll a rubber ball back and forth between you. As you roll the ball, say “My turn…now it’s your turn. Roll it back to Mommy.” It will help him understand that sharing means taking turns.

5. Play “Exchange” with your child and a sibling or friend. Sit between them and hand them both a toy. Make a game by having them exchange the toys by passing the toys back and forth. Each time they exchange the toys, say “Now it’s your brother’s turn. Switch toys please." This game will also emphasize sharing means taking turns.

6. Play card and board games. Playing games is a fun way to teach turn-taking. Make sure to enforce the turn-taking order and don’t deviate from the sequence so that your child understands that everyone gets a turn.

7. Take everyday moments to demonstrate sharing. You can do this by having family members taking turns choosing a movie or TV show to watch, the board game you’ll play, or the dessert you’ll have after dinner.

What tips do you have for teaching your kids how to share?

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