Whether it’s a birthday cake, a bedroom, or their favourite colours when finger painting with siblings or friends, sharing is important for your child's social development, but it can be tricky for kids to learn – and for parents to teach.
But with a few practical positive parenting tips, your children’s tears when they don’t get their own way will become far less frequent. Suddenly your kids will enjoy playing with other children again! Here are four simple ways to make sharing second nature to your child. And if your child is a little bit shy - playing these sharing games in addition to other activities that encourage social development is a good way to make them feel more confident.
Positive Parenting Means Being Prepared
There might be times when positive parenting involves pre-empting potential quarrels and organising toys or equipment so children don’t have to share. Put out the same colour cups, leave the racing car in the toy box, and only offer one choice of fruit at snack-time. Keep reinforcing the idea that today we all have the same.
Play ‘Take-Turn’ Games for Social Development
This is a fun way to help with your child’s social development! Show your children how much fun everyone can have by sharing by playing a game. Start with games where a ‘turn’ is very quick. ‘You can have it for five minutes, then it’s your brother’s turn’ – this is a really good phrase to use with children. Their needs are being valued, and it teaches them that patience pays off because they will get a turn eventually. Five minutes can seem like a lifetime to a child, so distract them with a simple sand timer. No more ‘that’s not fair’ arguments! Once they’ve perfected the simple games, move onto something more challenging, such as football, asking them to pass the ball to one another at least twice before scoring – that way everyone has to work together to win.
Positive Parenting Tricks: Distract Them
It always seems to happen like this – if one of your children is playing with something, another immediately wants it. Teach your child a strategy that we as adults use – distraction. If we make something else look interesting, the toy that your child cares so much about (and that he or she doesn’t want to share) suddenly looks less desirable, and they’ll lose interest. Make sure you tell them it’s ‘a grown-up secret’ – they’ll love this.
Remember – Social Development Doesn’t Mean that You Always Have to Share
There are some things that even as adults we don’t want or need to share – and that’s okay for social development. Collect some empty boxes, ask your children to decorate one, and write their name on the front so it feels – and looks – special to them. Keep it somewhere safe. Often if children have their own ‘special box’ filled with items that no-one else touches, they’ll feel more secure sharing less important things.
This is where the kids might get a bit messy, sticking on sequins or painting their box in bright colours, so make sure you remove any paint that’s found its way onto your kids’ clothes straight away. Anything with paint on it should be rubbed with a damp cloth and laundry soap. Then, rinse the item in water as hot as the garment allows, repeating until the stain is removed. Finally, wash the item in the washing machine with Surf Excel. How do you get your child to share with a smile? Read more tips about sharing toys during bath time, or let us know below how you use positive parenting tricks to teach social development for kids.