Sharing is not easy.
Young children may share toys. Sharing should be encouraged, but not forced. Forcing children to share their toys is like forcing adults to hand over their keys to people with whom they are barely familiar, not knowing when or if they’ll ever see their vehicle again.
Before age five, it is difficult for children to share. Children’s belongings are like extensions of their body. Handing over toys is similar to giving up a part of themselves.
Sharing teaches children to compromise. If Susan wants to play with Eric’s toy and is not having any luck, suggest she try giving Eric a different toy in trade. Be sure to let her know that Eric might not be ready to share and that is okay.
Setting time limits can work, especially with a large group. Young children have a strong sense of fairness. If there is a fifteen minute limit to use the classroom iPads, it is a rule that must be followed by everyone. If using a physical timer instead of a clock on a wall, beware the very bright child who will turn the timer knob for more time when no one is looking.
Play is the easiest and best way to learn anything.
Being around other little ones and interacting during play can be a lesson in sharing. Be sure your child is used to being around other children his age as early as possible. According to Renee Mosiman, a family therapist and co-author of The Smarter Preschooler: Unlocking Your Child’s Intellectual Potential, “Having a regular set of playmates over the years encourages trust among friends. As your child develops that sense of trust, he will be more likely to share with others.”
Young Children on Sharing (anonymous source)
- If I like it, it’s mine.
- If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine.
- If it’s in my hand, it’s mine.
- If I can take it away from you, it’s mine.
- If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.
- If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.
- If I’m doing or building something, all of the pieces are mine.
- If it looks just like mine, it’s mine.
- If I saw it first, it’s mine.
- If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.
- If it’s broken, it’s yours.
Buikema, E.L. Parenting . . . A Work in Progress. 2014