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Encouraging Sharing

October 22, 2021

Sharing can be a difficult skill for many children. However, sharing is a necessary social skill that helps children thrive in social environments. The good news is sharing is a skill that can be taught during interactions between siblings and friends.

See below for the three types of sharing behaviors to teach.

• Sharing one item: This involves one toy that only
one person can interact with at a time. This is the traditional back-and-forth turn taking such as when there’s only one tablet to play games.

• Sharing part of an item/activity: This involves materials that can be divided, such as playdoh or a cookie. Sometimes this involves teamwork.

• Sharing space: This involves allowing others to be part of the space that we are occupying. These are areas that allow for multiple people to use it at one time, such as a couch or a tree house.

Tips to teach sharing

Talk about sharing behaviors

As you see two children wanting to play with the same toy, jump in and talk about how to share the item. Use role play to help them practice this skill.
Talk about who can play with it first and what the other person can do while they wait for their turn. Praise the child who waits for a turn and play with the child in the meantime.

Show and practice sharing behaviors

Children learn by watching others. Show your child how you share with others every day. Think out loud as you share. “I only have one tablet. You can choose the first game to play and then it will be my turn to choose a game.”

Notice sharing behaviors

When you observe a child sharing, provide behavior specific praise to that child. Behavior specific praise is your way of letting the child know exactly why they are receiving praise. “I love how you gave your sister a turn after you played a game on the tablet. You’re doing a great job sharing.”

Father playing with his little girl at home Father playing with his little girl at home