How to Teach Your Kids to Share

Sharing is an essential life skill, and when kids can do it well it lays the groundwork for other key relational skills, such as empathy, listening, and generosity. As a parent, it can feel tough to try and teach your kids to share, especially if they are forever blaming each other for snatching a favorite toy, snack, or drink away. Follow these simple steps to develop their sharing skills, and before long these kinds of disputes will be a thing of the past.

Model the Behavior You Want to See

Sometimes, we can teach our kids things without actually having to deliver a lesson. Rather than spending ages discussing the pros and cons of sharing with your children, model how you go about sharing things with them and with others around you. This might mean splitting the last dessert left in the fridge with your partner, offering a lift to another family if you’re heading to the same place, or splitting of the cost of some tickets with your friend. Your children will see how this benefits you, and start to understand the positives of sharing without receiving a lecture.

Set Some Guidelines

If your kids are struggling to share with each other, step in and set some strict guidelines. This might mean timing how long each of them gets to play with a toy or a ball, before blowing a whistle and announcing it’s time to swap. Although this can get time-consuming for you, if you’re consistent with it, it shouldn’t take too long before your kids can police themselves and know when it’s time to share the toy or object they’re playing with.

Positive Praise

Rather than nagging your kids to share with each other, or telling them off when they argue over whose turn it is next, look out for positive behavior and praise this when you see it. This is a powerful way of marking out the kind of behavior you want to see, without having to use negative language all of the time.