Advice and tips on teaching your toddler to share

Preparing meals for children of different ages

If your toddler isn’t willing to share toys or treats with others, don’t worry it’s quite normal. In fact all around the world ‘It’s mine!’ is a favourite saying at this stage.

It just means your toddler needs time to understand the idea of sharing. Here are some tips to help you encourage them to share:

Encouraging your toddler to share

Toddlers learn by copying what you and others do. So help them understand why they should share, and the benefits it brings by sharing something with them.

For example, sit down to eat one of their favourite fruits. Tell them you’re really looking forward to eating it and how much you expect to enjoy it. Then say you’d enjoy it so much more if you shared half of the fruit with them.

Whilst you’re eating, talk to your toddler about the things you share. Then switch it around and ask your toddler to share another fruit with you. They should feel that they have been ‘rewarded’ – instead of having had something taken away. This way, your toddler will begin to understand that sharing means two people giving something to each other, something that ‘makes things better’.

The next time they’re due to play with friends, talk to your toddler about sharing toys before they get together. Remind them about the fruit and how sharing actually doubles their fun.

Signs they’re ready to share

Before they’re ready to share properly, toddlers sometimes like to show their belongings to others without letting go. This might seem like teasing or refusing to share, but in fact it’s an important step towards sharing. So do praise this behaviour and they’ll be sharing with you.

Try group sharing

More than food or clothes, toys are the things that toddlers are less willing to share. So get your little one together with some of their friends and get them drawing with paints or crayons. The catch is they have to share them (make sure no one actually owns the crayons or paints). Sharing then becomes a group effort, which is positive and fun.

Other fun activities that encourage sharing as a group include making biscuits or cakes together and making music with instruments like recorders, triangles, flutes and tambourines.

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