The ability to share is a developmental milestone in childhood. Sharing is an essential skill for children to learn for several reasons, including:
It’s important for children to learn to share in their early years, so they can get along socially with others at playgroup, play dates, early childcare, and eventually kindergarten.
Learning how to take turns is also very valuable in building their speech development as well as their communication skills.
Children need to be given opportunities to learn how to share, and to continue honing this skill.
Examples of this include:
Verbal encouragement, and letting them know what they have done well, helps to reinforce positive development.
Role-modelling how to share and how to take turns within your family will also help with their understanding, and how they can then apply this to real-life scenarios outside of the household. The best way for children to learn generosity is to witness it. Share your ice cream, then ask if you can wear your child’s hat for a few minutes! Use the word ‘share’ to describe what you are both doing.
Talking to your child about their friends/siblings’ feelings will also help your child understand things from someone else’s point of view, and start to build on their empathy.
Children are still impulsive, and don’t have a great grasp of time – therefore, waiting for his sibling or playmate to finish playing with a toy can be very difficult. It is important also to be realistic about a preschooler’s ability to share. At this age, children are still learning and can find it hard to understand other people’s thoughts and feelings.
Children will learn, given time, patience and encouragement, that sharing with their peers is more fun than keeping things just for themselves.