So how do we teach children to share?
Well - model this! Show children how to share. Set up situations where sharing is to take place and ensure that you are displaying how sharing is implemented. Your are the example for your child. Along side this - point out genuine sharing moments and praise them when they occur.
Toddlers will have a struggle with this - however it is imperative to be consistent in presenting a positive manner in which to share - while still having the 'right' to individual items. This is difficult especially if the child has their own toy in their possession. Even if the toddler reaches out to allow others to touch their toy - without giving the toy up - that in itself is a form of sharing and should be praised.
I am aware this can be a hot topic especially when the toy actually belongs to the toddler.
Must we 'make' the child share what is their personal possession?
There are many opinions on this. Some say, 'let the child have their own toy and keep others from touching it'. While others say, 'do not allow the child to bring personal toys into a childcare situation, where others may want to touch, or take that toy'. This alleviates any arguments or conflicts. Then there is the opinion that if the toy is brought into a group situation the child must learn to share that item. What ever your opinion the ultimate goal should be to teach the child a positive manner in which to deal with moments when sharing is imminent. Respect in this instance is to be foremost. Patience is a virtue.
When we make sharing fun - as in a game situation, there is more likelihood that sharing will take place. Also allowing your child to bring a special treat to share, could result in a better understanding of how others feel when sharing is done in a positive manner.
Keep in mind that toddlers are tenacious, and do not share in a purposeful manner. Developmentally they are just not there. It's a me, me, me age - it's all about them - hence adult intervention is key.
When your job is done correctly, sharing will take place when you least expect it!
The following two pictures were taken at the same play time and the children (2 to 2 1/2 years of age) independently chose these activities. Sharing took place without adult intervention. Praise was given for the sharing moments. The children (with the exception of one) have known one another for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 years. Sharing is instilled in many forms as described above. It appears as though these children are prepared for sharing.
Sharing one puzzle - taking turns to put the puzzle together.
Sharing a train set - each putting the tracks together as a team and dividing the cars equally!