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Learning to Share

Probably one of the most difficult things for a child, particularly an only child, to have to accept when starting at a preschool or daycare for the first time, is the concept of sharing.

Basically a three year old’s take on sharing runs along these lines: what’s mine is mine, what I see is mine, what I like is mine and what I want is mine. Now all of sudden they find themselves in a group of 15 other children, all of whom share the same philosophy. Sharing doesn’t come naturally to this age group, but if the process begins at home their transition into daycare will be so much easier. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Probably the most important thing they need to understand when expected to share their own toys is the difference between sharing and giving something away. They need to know that the toys they are sharing still belong to them and they will get them back.
  • Children learn by example, if you readily share your things with them, let them see you share with others and hear you use the word ‘share’ often then sharing will be seen as a natural and acceptable behaviour.
  • Children will share more readily if they know that you respect their belongings – ask if you want to borrow something and say thank you when you give it back.
  • Play games which require sharing and taking turns.
  • Point out how happy they feel when a friend shares with them and teach them to say thank you. Praise them for sharing with others.
  • Remind them that if they don’t want to share, their friends may not want to share either
  • If a friend is visiting, remind them in advance that they will need to share their toys. You may allow them to remove some of their favourites before the visitors arrive.
  • If they are reluctant to share toys at home, remove those toys and replace them with others which are easy to share, for instance, puzzles or crayons.

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