Unlike when they were younger, the instinct to protect and keep their things like toys and food to themselves becomes fierce to say the least between the ages of 3 and 4 years. Although they play with other children their age, taking turns on a favourite toy can be a hard task for them as they rarely have the patience to wait.
This is because they are very impulsive and barely have a clear grasp of time; to them they may feel a playmate has had a fair time to play with their toy which in actuality would even be a few seconds.
Although challenging, teaching a child to share is therefore necessary as this grows in them becoming adults. Here are a few tips to help you sow the seeds of generosity in your little one:
Being abrasive with your child by forcing them to share their toy for instance when they don’t want to may sow the wrong kinds of seeds namely resentment and unresponsiveness. Instead of admonishing them positive encouragement should convince him and as he grows, he will realize pleasing their friends by sharing is more satisfying.
Make it fun
Teach your child the power of working together through playing games like adding pieces to a puzzle until it is solved, share chores with them like unpacking the shopping bag, watering the garden etc. Always nudge them towards sharing things with their friends by giving your child something and encouraging them to share.
Talk about it
When you notice a squabble over something like a toy between your child and their playmates, help them by talking it over between them. You can try saying something to your child like “Ed, let Joe have a go with the toy as he really likes it and he will give it back within a few minutes”. Talk to your child to open up, you might find out he doesn’t get to play with the toys at his pre-school due to shortage which can help you understand the situation better.
Encourage your child to be a problem solver
Teaching your child that it is not a competition between him and his playmates on who gets the toy but a matter of taking turns might get through to them. Most kids just think since the toy is his, he has to mark his territory by playing with it all the time. Show them that if he shares the toy, he will probably get to play with his playmates’ toys as they too will want to share their toys with him.
Prepare the way
Your child probably has a stash of favourite toys that they find hard to share. Ask them about it and help them keep the toys away to avoid fights and squabbles. Ask them to prepare games he might enjoy playing with his playmates like drawing andcolouring and sports. This way, your child is psychologically prepared to share; this frame of mind guarantees a fun play day. Always ensure that the playmate brings along their toys to share with your child which is a good influence them.
Be courteous with your child’s things
Learn to respect your child and his possessions, siblings and house help should too. Always ask before taking something that belongs to them. That way, he won’t feel like his things are being disrespected which might prompt him to be stingy with them.
Preach water and drink water
They say charity begins at home therefore, if you want your child to be generous, lead by example. Share your things with him from little treats like ice cream to your clothes then ask him for something back always emphasizing on the word ‘share’.