Young children can be awfully stingy about their toys and other possessions.

Here’s how to encourage sharing:

  • Show your child how to play and work in a cooperative way. Take turns putting pieces of a puzzle in place. Do the laundry together. Let him hold “your” laundry basket.
  • Give and take. Share your things with your child—perhaps one of your baseball hats or a magazine. Say you enjoy sharing with him. Then ask if he would share one of his books with you.
  • Assure your child that sharing doesn’t mean giving away his toy forever. Use a timer to set limits on turns among children.
  • Allow your child to decide not to share some of his special things. If he has friends coming over, ask him beforehand if there’s anything he doesn’t want to share. Help him put those things away.
  • Ask your child what toys he would like to share with his friends, too. That will prepare him to share when his friends arrive.
  • Don’t force your child to share. That may build resentment toward those he has to share with.
  • Compliment your child when he shares. Get him to focus on how good he feels when he shares.

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