Little kids don’t have many possessions, and they get very attached to the things that they do have. Young children don’t fully understand how sharing will affect them or their toy, often feeling that if someone takes a toy they won’t ever get it back. That feeling of apprehension and uncertainty (plus inexperience), may be at the root of your child’s reluctance to share.

Here are some tips to help your child learn how to share, respectfully, without any tears or anxiety.

Teach by showing.
Share some of your things with your child and point out that you are sharing. For example, “Would you like a turn on my calculator? I like to share with you.”

Encourage your child to share toys with you.
It’s easier for a child to share with an adult, since they know you’ll return the toy when you’re done. It makes for good sharing practice. When you hand the toy back, point out what she just did, “You shared so nicely with me, thank you.” That way she has a good feeling about what it means to share.

Give your child choices.
Instead of demanding that your child share a specific toy with other children, give her some options. For example, “Kaylee would like to play with a stuffed animal. Which one would you like to let her play with?”

Create situations that require sharing.
Your child can get good practice with sharing when given toys or games that require two or more people to play, such as board games or yard games. Items that have plenty of parts for everyone, such as modeling clay, art projects, or building blocks are great for sharing practice, also.

Let your child know what to expect in advance.
Before a friend’s visit to your home, reassure her that all her things will still be hers after the friend leaves. Allow your child to put away a few special or favorite things that do not have to be shared.

Praise good sharing moments.
Watch for good things that happen – no matter how briefly – and praise your child for sharing nicely.

Don’t shame your child for not sharing.
If your child isn’t willing to share then he needs to learn more about the process. Teach, rather than punish, because punishment rarely succeeds in a creating a willing sharer.

Don’t embarrass your child with a public reprimand.
Even if you’ve given lessons, prepared your child and set up a good situation for sharing, your child might still refuse to share. It happens because it’s normal! When it does, take him to another room and discuss the issue privately, and set a plan.

Don’t force your child to share special toys, gifts or lovies.
Some things should be exempt from sharing rules, such as a favorite doll, a stuffed animal he sleeps with, a fragile toy, or a gift recently given to him.

These tips are from The No-Cry Discipline Solution,  shared by Elizabeth Pantley