Should We Encourage Children to Share? Five Tips for Facilitating Sharing Behaviour

Some educators prefer to encourage “turns” over “sharing”

While parenting styles may differ in terms of perspectives on the necessity of sharing, when it comes to time spent at preschool, children must develop the fundamental social ability to share communal space and objects with their peers.

Educator Tips

If you’re in need of ideas about how to encourage and teach sharing to the children at your center, these tips may be of use to you:

1. Sharing ‘Rules’

It’s helpful to highlight the distinction between home and preschool using a set of classroom ‘rules.’ The rules you set for sharing should be simple and easy to understand. Focus on aspects of sharing like asking for things, taking turns, and helping each other.

2. Modeling

You can encourage children to adopt sharing behaviors by modeling them yourself with other teachers, staff members, and even parents. Let your students see you engaging in interactions with other adults that revolve around sharing, such as offering food or classroom supplies.

3. Sharing Activities

Learning by doing will leave an impression on your students, especially when it comes to sharing. Arrange activities and games that require students to share supplies or workload. Children can do a collective art project, sharing crayons and markers, or you can hold a ‘cooking’ day where students complete different recipe tasks, like in an assembly line.

4. Timed Sharing

To help acknowledge and illustrate the concept that sharing involves taking turns and respecting each other, you can set a timer for use of toys, games, and supplies. Have children take turns for equal durations of time, making sure that everyone who wants a turn gets to play. Keep the timer in the play area so that students become accustomed to its use and purpose.

5. Positive Reinforcement

Shaping is a helpful way to encourage and develop sharing skills in your students. When you observe a student practicing a sharing behavior, acknowledge and praise, or reward, them for their behavior, right away. The positive reinforcement will help your students internalize appropriate sharing behavior, while also increasing their self-efficacy.

Sharing is an essential skill for the adequate social, cognitive, and emotional development of children. Basic sharing skills developed in the preschool years can translate to effective communication and socialization in the long-run.

Sharing and socialization in early childhood education is one of the most important components of your day-to-day preschool or child care routine. Contact HiMama today to find out how we can make this process much simpler!

Photo by Ashton Bingham