How do you teach children to share?

Discovery Place Kids Huntersville

There are many milestones to look forward to when raising children – the first time they smile, their first word, their first steps, among others.

One milestone that may be overlooked is that moment when a child develops a sense of independence – and sharing becomes a difficult idea to digest.

Many children who visit the Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville I CAN Grow area, which is specially geared toward children 0-36 months, can be seen playing next to other children, but not necessarily interacting with those nearby peers. At this stage of development, this type of behavior is normal and expected.

As parents, it is critical to recognize the importance of teaching kids to share. Their realization that everything does not belong to them is a significant one that will impact their interactions with others for years to come. Perhaps not surprising, parents who model sharing in their daily lives seem to have an easier time teaching their children to share. (Don’t worry, though – if someone asks you for a bite of that last piece of pie, we won’t judge if you say no!)

At Discovery Place Kids-Huntersville, parents have lots of opportunities to teach their kids about sharing, both through their own interactions with their children as well as through interactions their youngsters have with peers.

Here are a few ways you can integrate sharing into your next visit to the Museum:

· Leave that beloved stuffy, blankie or toy from home – you guessed it – at home. People of all ages have things they are attached to and often don’t want others to touch it or play with it. To avoid any emotional breakdowns when another guest begins playing with the child’s beloved toy place it at home or in the car.

· If another child desperately wants to play with the very toy that your child is using, this is a perfect opportunity to teach your child about sharing by setting a time limit to play with the item before having to pass it off to the next person in line.

· If a toy is in use and your child would like to play with it, you may want to take a turn in another exhibit space then revisit the location again for a chance. Better yet, encourage your child to ask for a turn to play with it once the other child is finished.

· Plan naps accordingly. Learning of any kind, whether it is how to share or how a fire truck works, is much more difficult with a tired child.

· Bring snacks. Like a lack of zzzz’s, hunger can make it hard for kids to behave and absorb what you are trying to teach them. We have designated areas where you can always take a break and nibble on some snacks brought from home.

While sharing is an important habit to learn, don’t force it. Most children don’t truly grasp the concept until 4-6 years of age. Encourage your child to interact with you as well as other guests and model the behavior of sharing. With continuity, eventually, the idea will stick.

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  • Discovery Place Kids