By Ellen Booth Church
Sharing is an important process of growing up that we continue to learn and fine-tune, even in our adult years! As humans we are naturally possessive and protective of our things. However, over time we learn the pleasure of giving.
As a parent, you know that the ability to share a favorite toy, or time with a favorite person, can be a major accomplishment for your preschooler. In order to share, your child needs to understand that others have needs and wants too. This happens developmentally when children begin to see that they are not the center of the universe (the egocentric stage), but one of many planets and constellations that work together to make up the universe! Here are simple ways to start teaching your preschooler about sharing:
Sounds simple, but sometimes we forget that our children learn best from the model we provide. When you are sharing, be sure to explain to your child what you are doing and why; otherwise, he may be unaware of what is happening. For example, you might point out that it feels good to help a neighbor by sharing a book or lending yard tools and that your neighbor appreciates it too.
When your child shares a toy with a sibling or friend, commend him for it, but be specific in your choice of words. Too often we use the word "nice" to describe an action of sharing. But "nice" is a hard word to define and is even harder for your young child to understand. Instead of saying, "Thank you for being nice to your friend," you can say, "Thank you for sharing your ball with Matthew. You made him happy."
If you have an only child, it is helpful to periodically take on the role of playmate so that she can have the experience of sharing a treasured object. (Plus your child will love playing one-on-one with you!) Allow her to take the lead as you have a tea party or pretend-play with her baby dolls. This will empower her play behaviors. Use the opportunity to demonstrate sharing a toy with her, but be sure to verbalize what you are doing. You might say, "Would you like to share my blocks? We could build a tower together." Doing this gives her a model of behavior for when she plays with friends or relatives.
One benefit he can experience is the joy of interaction with a playmate or family member. He will find that it is more fun to share a toy with someone than to have it all to himself. That is because he is developing a sense of self in relationship to others. And in so doing, he is beginning to understand the importance of community. Of course, that doesn't mean he will always want to share. In fact, many times your young child may not. But through small successful experiences with sharing a toy or a snack, your child can begin to generalize these experiences with more friends and with objects of greater significance. For example, you wouldn't suggest that your child share his "blankie" or a favorite truck, but you could invite him to share his crayons. Here are other activities that make it easy to share:
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.