Sharing is caring: teaching kids to share in early childhood

Posted in: Blog | 31 Jan 2018

At Charlton Brown Early Learning, we know that learning to share can sometimes be a challenge for children, but it’s an essential skill they need for playing and learning throughout early childhood.

You can help kids to learn to share by giving them plenty of opportunities to practice, while also providing praise and encouragement. Sharing is something that children need to learn in order to make (and keep) friends while playing cooperatively. Ultimately,  once a child starts having playdates and going to child care, they’ll need to be able to share with others.

Most importantly, sharing teaches children about fairness, as they learn that if they give a little to someone else, they can still get some of what they want as well. Children who share also learn important life skills like how to take turns and negotiate, and how to deal with occasional disappointment.

Unsurprisingly, children learn a lot from watching what adults do. When you model good sharing and turn-taking, it gives children a good example to follow. It’s also a good idea to point out good sharing in others, and when you see a child trying to share or take turns, make sure you give lots of praise.  Another good idea is to play games with children that involve sharing and taking turns. Talk each child through the steps by saying “Now it’s my turn, then it’s your turn. You share with me, and I’ll share these with you.”

Before heading to child care or playdates, talk to your child about sharing beforehand. For example, you could say, “When Steve comes over, you’ll need to share some of your toys with him. Why don’t you ask him what he wants to play with?” At the same time, children are allowed to have special toys that they don’t want to share. Find out what these are and help them to put these away before another child arrives.

If a child doesn’t share well, you can do some practice together, away from other children, to get them used to the idea. Food is a good way to start. Try sharing a meal and offering some of your food and exchanging it for some of theirs. Don’t avoid playdates or taking a child to childcare if they have trouble sharing. Just use them as an opportunity for practice and stay nearby to provide encouragement and praise. When they do learn to share, make sure to let them know exactly how proud you are of them.

For children over three years of age, it can help to create consequences if they still don’t want to share. These consequences work best when they’re related to the thing that they don’t want to share. For example, if children won’t share a toy, take it off of both children. This way, the consequences feel the same for both children  and it gets them thinking about what they need to do if they want to play with the toy together. Once the idea seems it’s sunken in, you can give them the toy back to see if they’ve figured out why sharing is important.

Sharing ability varies at different age ranges so don’t expect toddlers to be super benevolent. Take things in literal baby steps and they’ll be a sharing, caring child you can be proud of in no time.

At Charlton Brown, we’re passionate about developing the world’s best educators and playing our part in helping children to develop to their full potential. To get started in the growing early childhood education and care industry, it’s essential to choose an industry trusted training provider with a solid track record of getting people qualified and established in a rewarding new career shaping young minds.

With a proud 30-year history of providing industry-best training, Charlton Brown has developed more than 18,000 quality graduates who now work across every facet of the early childhood sector. Combining our core competencies and expertise in the care industry with strategic partnerships and support from government, NGOs and large childcare providers, we’re the ideal starting point for your new career in this growing industry.

Get in touch with us today to find out how you can get started on one of the below qualifications that combine the latest theory with hands-on learning from industry work placement opportunities.

Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care

This course reflects the role of workers in a range of early childhood education settings. Throughout the course, you will learn about the responsibilities involved in engaging with groups of children and individuals, how children grow and develop, and observing children to learn about their interests and needs.

Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

The Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care will provide you with an in-depth understanding of children and how to engage with them in a group care environment. This course is ideal if you want to become early childhood educators responsible for designing and implementing curriculum in Early Childhood Education and Care services.

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