What is the reason behind your toddler having such a hard time grasping the idea of sharing and caring? Well, it might be due to the fact that during early childhood they don't have the capacity for complex cognitive thought processes of empathy and thinking from someone else's point of view. They are still in the phase where they're learning to develop an individual personality and environment for themselves. So, being possessive is completely natural and encouraged. They are bound to form strong attachments for certain things, people and situations. These are part of your child and are his prized possessions. They don't want to share something that has so much value to them and is so close to their heart. The expectation for them to part with something like this is completely unreasonable.
But how to instill in them this quality without harming their personal space so that they end up being generous and well-liked individuals down the road?
1. Be their role model.
Kids are brilliant imitators who often try and mimic their heroes, which in most cases are their parents. To make sure to instill sharing into their subconscious, you need to be very aware of your own actions and whether they are promoting the right values or not. Share items between your spouses, friends, relatives and children regularly.
2. Giving to charity.
The best way to teach them sharing and at the same time to make them conscious, future adults is to teach them about charity. Ask them to donate a few of their clothes and toys to the less privileged. This will help spark the inner flame of empathy in them. Also, show them how happy their actions are making others. This will incentivize them the furthest.
3. Don't force them into the concept of sharing.
Force sharing often leads to more harm than good. Sharing is a gradual process that should be done on a voluntary basis. Don't create resentment between them and their friends, siblings and yourself by making it compulsory to share as this will only delay the development of their sharing skills. Give them the time to explore their own generosity.
4. Play sports that encourage sharing.
Sports can be a great and natural teacher in this regard. Let your child pass around the football; let them shoot basketball hoops with their friends; or keep taking turns batting when playing cricket. Regular interactions in such group activities is very beneficial.
5. Do arts and crafts with them.
When you decide on doing an arts and crafts activity together such as painting, there is an intrinsic need to be able to share in many ways. You start off by deciding on an idea together. Then you share the canvas amongst yourselves and pass the paints and brushes amongst each other.
Sharing is necessary to teach your child the valuable skill of taking turns with others and delaying one's gratification. Cooperation means that everyone ends up winning. But we don't want our child to be a pushover and allow others to hamper his own needs. Our goal is to get them to strike a balance between their needs and that of the others to promote pro-social behavior.
Stay Tuned, Stay Relevant!