Teach Siblings How to Share + Sharing Activities

Teach Siblings How to Share + Sharing Activities (1)

Knowing how to share is a lesson that is taught by influencers of children. It is not something that children naturally have an understanding of. My daughter, age 4, still has a hard time with the sharing concept but it is not because I haven’t tried to teach it. It is because she was an only child for so long and thinks that every toy in the house is hers. It may come as a surprise to her, but even though those toys were technically only hers prior to her brother being born, she now doesn’t have sole ownership of them and has to share. Insert angry child face here.

Teaching Life Principles Through Play:
A good way to model principles to a young child is through play. Games hold a child’s attention, allowing lessons to sink in, in the spirit of fun. Children are more likely to remember what they have learned through play than what they’ve heard in your lectures. – AskDrSears.com.

Share Strategies

Older siblings typically don’t have to learn to share until their younger sibling(s) are mobile. When everyone in the house is on the move is when sharing situations can get heated. In order to get the older sibling to understand the concept of sharing, it is important to explain to them what it means to share.

  • Use food as a prime example. I know kids want bites of food from their parent’s plates all of the time. When your child asks for a bite, remind them that you are going to share your food with them.
  • Remind children to always say please and thank you when asking to share and when the share takes place. This teaches manners, a lifelong skill that is useful in so many ways.
  • Let the child know you understand that sharing is hard when they are having trouble learning the concept. Get down to their eye level and compliment them on things they do best and teach them that when they share, other people will be happy too. It is a good feeling to make other people around them happy and they will get along with other children better.
  • If you child refuses to share a toy, ask them what they think is a good compromise. Should they share the toy for a set number of minutes (which teaches the receiving child that they will have to give the toy back)? Should the toy go into a timeout? If the toy can’t be shared then it can’t be played with anymore. Does the child think there is another toy the asking child might want to play with more and offer it instead? Can they both/all play with the toy at the same time?
  • Make sharing a game. Capri likes to have her dollhouse in a certain order (I like to call this OCD but whatever). Cam likes to pull everything out of her dollhouse and throw it on the ground. So I made a game out of this. We call it tornado and when Cam knocks everything out of the dollhouse, Capri has to find Cam’s police car and drive it over to the dollhouse. The police then have to assess the weather damage and help the family rebuild. Since we have been playing this game, Capri has been perfectly fine with Cam messing up her dollhouse and sometimes even laughs. And of course Cam loves to make a mess!

Teach Siblings How to Share + Sharing Activities

When Not to Share

There are times when it is OK not to share and it is important to teach this too. Certain toys are for certain ages. It can be tough to keep these toys separate. In my house, we call these toys little toys which means they are small enough for Cam, who is 1, to put into his mouth. Capri understands that these toys are not safe for him so we keep them in her room. The toys in her room are no share toys. Cam is not allowed to play in her room, without my supervision of course.

It is also a best practice to teach your children not to share drinks or food when others are, or have been, sick. Germs can easily be spread this way and it is a good time to teach that they can say no.

Activities to Encourage Sharing

  • Have a toy sharing play date. Invite your mom friends and their children over and have each child bring a couple of toys to share. While together, the lesson of the day is sharing. Parents can also share strategies to encourage children to share with each other. You never know when a phrase that another parent uses may resonate better with your child.
  • Play share games. ‘Share the wealth’ is a game that we love at my house. Give one child a bunch of items like toys, money, candy, a favorite stuffed animal, etc., and ask them to share these items with people in the room. You can always use baby dolls and stuffed animals as placeholders for people they need to give items to. Then once they have passed everything out, allow them to collect it again, while saying thank you when collected. Do this with each child and make it a fun game.
  • Make cookies with intentions of sharing. This is by far my favorite. Capri loves to bake and Lord knows I don’t need the calories! So I have taught her to deliver the baked goods to our neighbors. Win-win for everyone!

What are some ways that you have taught your children to share? I’d love to hear your ideas and try to incorporate them into my tactics.

The Choosy Mommy came to life as I began writing for the Choosy Kids (www.choosykids.com) blog from the mom perspective. We also have bloggers who are teachers, nutritionist, pediatricians, dental experts, etc. and I share my two cents on food choices, physical activity, and daily health routines plus so much more! I have a ton to share but didn’t want to take over the Choosy Kids blog so I decided it was best to grow The Choosy Mommy brand.

23 thoughts on “Teach Siblings How to Share + Sharing Activities

  1. Sharing is so hard to teach an only child at times. Since he has no one to share with at home, it’s hard to just switch to being more willing to share when we are with others. But as he has gotten older it’s an easier lesson to teach and understand.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Maybe teach sharing with stuffed animals, or even you! Mention that you are sharing everytime you give him something…whether it is a bite of your food, a sip of your drink, some candy from your purse, etc. And when you are at the playground, you could even take some extra candy and ask if he wants to share with others (of course, ask the other moms first if it is OK) but this could help with sharing but he could make some new friends too!

  2. These are great strategies! I sometimes struggle with mediating between my two toddlers when they don’t want to share. I’ll have to try some of your ideas!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      It is hard being the “bad mom” but we don’t want injuries or tears, although the tears happen anyways. Let me know if you give any ideas a try and how they go!

  3. Great post! We are definitely dealing with this in our house. The almost 2 year old thinks he can take any toy from anybody at any time. 🙁 We are practicing sharing and what that looks like, but it is hard! I love that you use Cam as an interactive part of the story that doesn’t interrupt the play, just changes the style. Great tip!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Sometimes you just have to be creative! Good luck to you. 2 is such a hard age and like I said, we didn’t really have to start sharing until about 3.5 with my oldest.

  4. CourtneyLynne

    Great advice!!! My brother and I were monsters when it came to sharing lol…. Whatever the other had, the other just had to have!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I think all siblings do this. I know my kids do and I am pretty sure I did it with my brother too. But we all eventually learned to share, right?

  5. I love these suggestions and find them really helpful! My 4-year-old is struggling with this and I really like the compromise section of this article, particularly sharing it for a few minutes 🙂

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Thanks! I hope you all make it through and everyone is a happy sharer 🙂

  6. These are great tips! Sharing is such a tough concept to learn and understand, especially at a young age.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Thanks. I just wonder what age they really do get it? Some days my 4 year old shares everything and other days she struggles.

  7. These are great tips! Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. we’re still learning to share over here!! loved these tips. i totally want to have a toy-sharing play date now!

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      I think it is a fun way to also see what other toys your children may like 🙂

  9. I’m not there…yet…but I know it’s coming. Mine are 22 months and 4 months. This is good advice and the goal here is to get them trained…er taught? while they are young.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      Yes…yet is the perfect word. You may have it a bit easier because of their closeness in age but I bet you will still have those no sharing days. Good luck!

  10. Thank you for all the great suggestions. It is hard for children to share. I know adults with the same problem lol. We often set timers for let’s say 3 minutes per toy and the have our kids trade.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      The timer is a great idea! Thanks for sharing

  11. These are great strategies, I really like the compromise section of this article, particularly sharing it for a few minutes
    thanks for sharing

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      You are welcome! The sharing for a few minutes always works, especially since kids get bored quickly

  12. Sharing is the best way to make life better. This is such a wonderful strategy. I’ll definitely wanna share it to my friends. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • Christine - The Choosy Mommy

      🙂 You are welcome!

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