Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Learning to share can be a hard concept to grasp for most toddlers. Play dates can become stressful when all the fun is replaced by tears, but there are ways in which you can help your child to share and make play dates less stressful.
1) Teach them from a young age
It's never too early to begin teaching your child to share. As soon as they are able to pick up and grasp objects you can teach them about turn taking, by passing an object back and fourth while saying ''my turn, your turn''. Learning to take turns is the first step towards being able to share.
2) Play games that involve turn taking
Board games are a great way to help children understand how to take turns and are fun too, but you can use any kind of play with your child as a good opportunity to encourage turn taking, such as building a tower together, doing puzzles or kicking a ball to each other.
3) Talk to them
Before a play date, have a chat with your child about sharing the toys and taking turns. If the play date is at your house and there are special toys that they are not keen to share, then remove them and put them away. Encourage your child to choose toys that they might like to play with together.
4) Older children
Children over three understand the concept of sharing, but it doesn't mean that they always will! Use of a timer might help or, if there is a lot of arguing over a specific toy, then removing the toy for a short period of time and explaining that nobody gets to play with it, will help them to think about what they need to do if they want to play with the toy together. Giving the toy back gives them a chance to show that they can share, so make sure that you only remove it for 5/10 minutes.
If there remains upset, then remove the toy completely and have a chat about how they are now feeling. Learning to see things from someone else's viewpoint can be hard but it is also an important skill in making friends.
5) Praise them
Children respond well to praise. When you see your child sharing, make sure that you acknowledge that you have seen and give plenty of praise so they understand that they have done a good thing.
Need some help with your toddlers behaviour? Book a consultation here, and see how I can help.