by Rynette R. Kjesbo, M.S., CCC-SLP
What Is Sharing?
When we share with others, we give them part or all of something we have. We might
give them something without expecting them to return it, or we might give them something
then expect to get it back when they are done with it. For example, if you have
two cookies, and you “share” a cookie with a friend, you don’t expect to get it
back! However, if you “share” a favorite book with a friend, you most likely expect
it back after he/she is done reading it.
Encouraging Children to Share
Sharing plays an important part in bonding with the people around us. Children can
develop the social skill of sharing through practice, patience, and the gentle guidance
Here are some strategies you can use to encourage your children to share:
- Be a role model. Model sharing with family members and
friends. Explain to your children why you are sharing. For example, “I want to share
my book with Daddy because I know he will enjoy reading it.”
- Teach ways to share. If your children don’t always want
to share, help them come up with a solution, like giving an alternative. For example,
“I’m playing with the blue car right now, but here’s a fire truck you can use and
we can play together.”
- Share for a short time. When children agree to share
something for a little while, use a visual timer, like a sand timer, or play/sing
a song to help children understand when it is their turn again based on the amount
of time that has passed.
- Keep special toys separate from other toys. If your
children have special toys that they are less likely to share, put them in a different
area when friends come over to play. Leave out a variety of toys that your children
would be willing to share.
- Use toys that encourage sharing. Toys such as puzzles,
balls, and blocks encourage children to share and play together.
- Praise your children when they share on their own. When
you see your children sharing, let them know they made a good choice! For example,
“I like the way you shared with your brother by letting him hold your bear for a
while. When he lies down for his nap, it will really help him fall asleep faster!”