As your little ones begin to gain some independence they start gaining a real sense of self and exploring things that benefit them and make them happy. This generally comes from a sense of ownership of their favourite toys, games and people in their life. When your toddler wants something they generally get it without having to consider any alternatives. It not until friends and siblings are introduced that their world suddenly changes and this foreign concept of having to share is presented to them, which in a lot of cases doesn’t go down very well with them.
When our little people begin to interact with other children during play there will be times when both of them want the same fun toy. Cue the tears and screaming as they both fight for what they want and as adults we need to remember that the idea of sharing is not even something they have considered nor processed cognitively and we need to introduce the idea of sharing through a variety of different methods from play to people and experiences.
Learning to share helps your toddler with some pretty important socialisation skills including making and keeping friends along with teaching them valuable life skills like cooperation, negotiation and fairness. Whilst at this age they may not understand fairness, encouraging sharing helps them to explore their thoughts and feelings about it. Some ways to encourage sharing are:
- Through the use of take turn games like Mizzie Memory Match, where each person must wait their turn even if they know where the next paired card may be.
- “One for you, one for me” style division of snacks and foods. Try using items that are identical like grapes or blueberries to avoid comparison and preference.
- Having them help you perform everyday tasks like handing you things while you are cooking or helping to tidy up.
- Asking them to come and give you the kisses and cuddles that they would usually expect you to give them.
- Share stories with them including them in the conversation by asking questions and seeking feedback.
- Praise them every time they voluntarily share with you to reinforce the understanding that sharing is good.
Sharing is such a great tool for little ones to learn early, however at this stage you shouldn’t expect them to understand why they should share nor should you chastise them when they refuse to share as they need time to form mental patterns and make cause and effect connections.
One of the easiest ways to encourage sharing is through game play and working together. Allowing children to cooperate and put together a Hopping around Australia Mizzie Puzzle will help them to understand how sharing tasks can be mutually beneficial and how fulfilling it is to help others.
Playing games where children take turns help them to understand sharing and fairness and Mizzie Memory match is the perfect way for them to exercise their sharing abilities whether competing for who can make matches or helping each other to find the next card.