Whenever two or more young children are together, there is bound to be some discussion over sharing. Whether the children in question are your own, neighbors, relatives, or in a classroom setting, the techniques are much the same. Consider the following practical tips to help bring a swift end to arguments.
Allow do not disturb signs - If one child simply wants to play with blocks alone, at times you should let them. Sharing is important, but so is respecting other people's boundaries.
Encourage empathy - Ask them what they think their friend is feeling or how they would feel if they were not allowed to play. You can also revisit situations that happened during the day when things are calmer. Help them understand that what they say and do has consequences.
Let them figure it out - Instead of intervening and telling your child what they should do, give them a little room to figure out a solution for themselves. You can guide them to appropriate outcomes by offering suggestions, but ultimately let kids develop important problem solving skills.
Set a timer. The saying, time goes fast when you are having fun, is very true. If two or more kids are taking turns, keep it fair by setting a timer.
Enlist help. When you have a child who is notoriously reluctant to share, engage their sense of power by asking them to teach others about sharing. This little touch of reverse psychology was suggested by my mom when I was babysitting a boy who seemed to drag a black cloud of anger around with him. Instead of more time outs and lectures, she told me to let him explain sharing to everyone. I gave him a days' notice and to my surprise he took his role seriously. The atmosphere in the room completely changed after giving him this leadership role.
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