- Sharing is a crucial developmental milestone for preschoolers’ social and emotional growth.
- Children need help to develop sharing skills, especially around 3 or 4 years old.
- Sharing fosters friendships, fairness, compromise, patience, and trust in children.
- Encourage sharing through practice, modeling, praise, games, and explaining its importance.
For preschoolers, learning to share is challenging and marks an important developmental moment in their social and emotional growth. During childhood, sharing is a capacity that kids need to have in order to play and learn, but they need your help in building the relationship and emotional intelligence skills required to do so.
Because sharing can be hard for children around 3 or 4 years old, it’s a skill that’s usually developed until a child starts going to childcare, kindergarten, or until they start having playmates. According to the Raising Children Network, kids need to learn to share in order to make and keep friendships, because sharing helps them understand fairness and compromise, as well as learning about tolerating frustration, being patient, and trusting others.
Here are some ideas on how you can encourage your preschooler to build relationship skills by learning to share:
- Provide plenty of opportunities to practice sharing. Remember that kids learn by doing things in a manner of trial and error.
- Model sharing and taking turns.
- Help your child notice when someone is sharing.
- Give lots of praise for progress.
- Play games that involve turn-taking.
- Explain what is sharing, talk about empathy, about how nice it is when someone shares with them, and how other kids like that as well.