Teaching children to share is a hard task. Most children don't understand the concept of "mine" and "yours" until they're 3 years old. Young children are naturally ego-centric. They see the whole world through the lens of their own wants and desires.
Some children get so attached to a toy that it becomes part of the child's self, to the extent that when asked to draw a picture of herself, a four-year-old would always include her doll -- as if it were part of her body. This can give you an idea on how hard it is to convince her to share this doll with a playmate.
Strategies that may work
- Give your child plenty of opportunities to share neutral items. Sharing your favorite toy is much harder than picking out a treat at the store with the express purpose of sharing it with friends.
- Play turn-taking games. Kids get a much better sense of what you want if you use the term taking turns.
- Model generosity. When someone asks to borrow one of your "toys," make this a teachable moment: "Mommy is sharing her cookbook with her friend.” Share with your children: "Want some of my popcorn?" Find plenty of opportunities to model sharing.
- Compliment your children as they make progress. Children will appreciate the third-party compliment.
As is the case with social skills in general, children don’t naturally develop the ability to share. Be aware that sharing requires practice, which always includes mistakes along with the successes.
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