Do these words sound familiar? If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve heard this once or twice from your little one. The truth is that most toddlers don’t understand the concept of sharing - it’s too complex to grasp. Funnily enough, some kids think that sharing involves taking things away from others, they don’t understand that it works both ways. This is why the “mines” and “gimmes” sometimes result in tears or tantrums.
Have no fear - sharing is learned as kids play with one another. Through interaction with others, their social, cognitive, and emotional development increases. This is why reinforcing positive behavior is so important to help them develop these lifelong skills. As a parent, you should take every opportunity to show your kids what sharing is.
For example, when you let them have a bite of your cake, be sure to use the word “share” to affirm this behavior. You’ll notice that by leading by example, they’ll begin to follow suit. After all, you are who they look up to! Then, when you notice that they begin to share, praise their actions by thanking them or showing your affection with a hug.
Here are a few simple tricks to teach your little one that sharing really is caring:
- Teach them young. As early as a kid can hold an object, say “my turn, your turn” while passing the object back and forth. This will normalize this action from a young age.
- Play, play, play! During playdates, plan activities that don’t involve a winner. Some examples include assembling an Antsy Pants Build and Play Kit or building a Sandcastle Kingdom with our new line of sand toys and accessories. This will teach kids to be collaborative and work towards a common goal.
- Bring a stopwatch. While this one may sound odd, set a timer to go off every couple minutes during playtime. Everytime it goes off, encourage your toddler to switch toys with their friend or family member. This will teach them to be less possessive of toys, and they’ll be subconsciously sharing on their own in no time!
Sharing is one of the most important skills to teach at home before your kids enter a school or daycare environment. By using these simple tricks, sharing will become part of their daily routine. It may also mean fewer tantrums... you can thank us later!