Horizon KidsIf shouts of “Me! My! Mine!” are getting you down; take some comfort in the words of psychiatrist Susanne Ayers Denham. Preschoolers are still learning how to relate to others, and Denham says that a toddler resistant to sharing is typically just acting his age.

Learning to share helps grow your child’s social skills, and it will serve her well when she interacts with others in her daycare class.

  • Model the behavior. It’s one thing to talk about sharing, but when you provide real-life examples your child can’t help but be influenced. Without making a big deal about it, share pieces of candy bars, crayons or whatever you’re using at the moment. Say, “here, I’ll share this with you.” Share with other family members to reinforce the lesson.
  • Include give-and-take. In our zeal to teach sharing, we sometimes forget that it’s not enough for your toddler just to hand over a toy … he must also learn to accept others’ shared items politely. Challenge your child to ask for a toy in his “nicest voice.”
  • Make it more fun. Few tots can resist a new game. Gather your child and her friends from daycare or the neighborhood. Give them each a toy. In a few minutes, announce “Everybody swap toys!” or something similar. They’ll be so busy playing swap; they’ll forget they’re sharing.
  • Catch them in the act. Once your child starts initiating some sharing, mention is casually as you tuck her in at night: "I was proud of the way you shared your toys today."
  • Don’t rush the results. Kids learn at their own pace, and some backsliding is inevitable. Just keep showing how sharing is a win-win for everyone.