Does that phrase sound familiar? Although children at the preschool age are discovering their independence and establishing their identity, the concept of “sharing” doesn’t develop until about the age of 5. To add to the stress, these young minds often have no concept of time, so waiting for their toy to make its way back to them after giving it up can be frustrating for young children. However, help is on the way! These super fun and creative tips will turn them into a pro at the art of sharing in no time!
Lead by example
Children watch everything their parents do and will often imitate them. Make it a point with your spouse and their siblings to show how you “share” with each other in front of your little one. You can do this in many clever ways. At dinner, for example, you could say “honey, would you like some of my peas?” Or, while at the playground, say to their sibling “It’s pretty cold out and you didn’t bring your gloves, would you like to wear mine?” Repeat this whenever the moment presents itself and over time your preschooler will want to follow in mom and dad’s footsteps.
Reverse the Roles
During playtime, when your child asks for something you’re playing with, casually say “no.” This will grab their attention for sure. When they get upset, use that opportunity to explain that the way they are feeling that moment is the way their friends feel when they’re not sharing. Slowly they will come to the realization that not sharing makes their friends sad, which is something they usually don’t like to do!
Around the age of 4, children start developing empathy and begin to understand the emotions of others from their own experiences. Giving to charity is a fantastic way to teach your preschooler about sharing. Gather up old clothes and toys and take your child with you to Goodwill, a homeless shelter or any other charity. Explain to the them that you are sharing these items with children and families that are less fortunate than them. For kids, the thought of not having any toys is terrifying, so giving away their old stuff to these kids would make sense to them and give them a feeling of accomplishment. Don’t be surprised if your child brings this experience up later on in conversation. You may hear, “Mommy, do you remember that time we gave my toys to those other kids who don’t have any? That was so nice of us!” Kids love tooting their own horn when they do something significant!
These helpful tips will have your preschooler on the path to generosity in no time. Remember, it’ll take practice on your child’s part, so be patient! Don’t forget to praise them when they do show steps in the right direction and don’t punish them when they revert to their old ways of stinginess now and then. Positive affirmation is more effective than negative! When they receive praise for a job well done from their parent or teacher, they will strive to do it more often. Nothing excites kids more than seeing their parents and teachers happy with their behavior!