LEARNING TO SHARE
YOU WILL LEARN:
- that it is not easy for young children
- that you should be a good example and
show the children how to share.
- that you should encourage and help
children while they are learning to share.
This fact sheet will help you help children learn to share.
Also, it will help you to understand young children and know what to
expect from them.
Some toddlers share without being asked and without being
taught to. However, learning to share is hard for most children. Young
children think about themselves and what they want or need. Thinking about
the needs of others is the beginning of learning to share. Two and
three-year-old children should not be expected to share. They are still
working on meeting their own needs. By age four, many children will share
some of their things. By age six or seven, children begin to understand
how to cooperate with other children. Playing in groups gives children a
chance to learn about sharing and taking turns.
In your family day care home, you may decide that all day care toys and
games belong to the group, not to any one child. As the care provider, you
need to explain that to the children. Then show them what you mean. For
example, when a child has finished using a group toy and another child
picks it up, say out loud that it belongs to that child now. When he is
done it will belong to the next child, etc. Explain to the children that
this is called "sharing." If they want a toy back, they will
have to wait for another turn. Explain this process to all the children.
Then follow through with your promise.
Tell the children rules in a way that they understand. You could say,
"First you go down the slide, then John, and then Sandy. This is
clearer to children than saying, "You must all take turns."
GUIDELINE TO ENCOURAGE SHARING
- Read books about sharing to the
children. Your local children's librarian may be able to suggest some
books and videos about sharing.
- When playing "turn taking"
games, be sure that each child has a chance to go first.
- Support and praise children when they
share. For example, say, "I liked the way you let John play with
that toy. You must be proud of yourself."
- Do not force young children (less than
three years old) to share. This may cause the children to resent
- Set a good example. Talk about sharing.
Share with the children.
- Sharing can be fun. Children need to try
it to learn it.
SITUATIONS TO DISCUSS
Think about what you would do in the following situations.
Discuss your solutions with another day care provider. Did you come up
with similar solutions?
1. Emily keeps taking the teddy bear from
John. What can you do to help?
2. Terry always wants to be first. He screams when he can't be. What can
you do to help Terry?
3. Matt will not let go of a toy. What can you do?
ACTIVITIES TO TRY WITH CHILDREN
- Every day, do something in which you
share or take turns with the children.
- Talk about sharing. Talk about how good
it feels when others share with us.
RESOURCES TO EXPLORE
Growing With Children circular HE 198
*Learning to Share*, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Auburn
University, Auburn, AL 36849.
*Positive Parenting Practices, Teaching Children to Share*, letter #9.
West Virginia University Cooperative Extension, Morgantown, WV 26506.
*Being Alone, Being Together* by Terry Berger, Raintree Edition,
Milwaukee. Distributed by Children's Press, Chicago, IL.
*Frederick* by Leo Lionni, Pantheon, New York, NY 10022 (1967).
*Uncle Elephant* by Arnold Lobel, Harper and Row, New York, NY (1981).
*What Mary Jo Shared* by Janice May Udry, A. Whitman, Niles, IL 60648
*Hiding House* by Judith Vigna, A. Whitman, Niles, IL 60648 (1979).
Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC.
Malley, C.. (1991). *Learning to share*. (Family Day Care Facts
Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts.