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Children generally understand the concept of sharing at about age three

It’s not uncommon for most children aged 4-7 put their own needs first, and can get upset when the needs of others get in the way.

At times it can be difficult to watch as your little one can’t understand that even if they don’t have a toy now, it’ll be their turn soon. Before you know it, they grab a toy from a friend, or refuse to let siblings look at their favourite book.

Not to worry – beneath the surface those sharing skills are maturing. We can see this when you see how much they love getting praise from you and other trusted adults. It could be through enjoy drawing pictures for teachers, making presents for you or sharing food with friends. Here are a few ideas that can help further sow the seeds of generosity and gently encouraging your child to share.

Make it fun

How about cooperative games in which working together is the focus, rather than winning. Try doing a jigsaw puzzle together, taking turns to add pieces. Share projects, too: water the plants, sweep the floor, or unpack the shopping together!

There are also many books that you can read together that help explain situations; Bobby & Morph Find a New Toy not only explores how to share, but also forgiveness, too.

Talk it out

When your child squabbles with a friend about a toy, try to intervene before things become too heated. Help your preschooler put their feelings into words; you may need to prompt, for example by saying, “It sounds like you feel cross”, or “you’re looking a bit disappointed” this reassures your child that you understand how they might be feeling.

Set a good example

The best way for your three or four-year-old to learn generosity is to witness it. So share your ice cream with him. Offer him your scarf for a superhero’s cape, and ask if you can try on his new hat.

Use the word “share” to describe what you’re doing, and let your child know that you can share a story, a feeling or an idea, as well as sharing material things. Most importantly, let him see you give and take, compromise, and share with others.