Teach Children to Share and Avoid the “Playground Villain” Label

In ten (more or less) easy steps

Adelina Vasile


Photo by Steven Libralon on Unsplash

Are you frustrated that your toddler won’t share anything with other children?

It happens mostly because they’re not developmentally ready to do so, yet.

We could talk for ages about what causes a child not to share. Whether it’s normal for three or four-year-olds not to share. Or at what age should a child be able to share?

The short answer?

Sharing requires empathy, which develops over time — over the years.

Meanwhile, you can ease the process and equip your child with skills that’ll facilitate the transition, by doing the following.

Be a Model

Children learn from what they see, not what they hear.

You can’t teach them to stop hitting by hitting them. And you can’t tell them not to eat chocolate when your mouth is full of it (I tried.)

Want to teach them to share? First, do it yourself. Second, talk to them about it.

When you talk the talk and walk the walk, the lesson is powerful.

So, begin at home, casually:

That apple looks delicious, may I have a slice of it? / Of course, you can, I’m delighted to share it with you.

This pie is so tasty, I’d love for you to have a bite. Come here and let’s share it together.

Let your kids watch you talking like this to your partner or answer to their requests so politely and even a bit theatrical.

They’ll notice and internalize it.

They may not start showing their excitement for sharing with other family members right away. But they will notice. And they will internalize. When you expect the least, they’ll surprise you with it.

Also, when you snuggle in bed at night. Make a habit of sharing what you liked and disliked about your day.

Occasionally, mention how great you felt when sharing something with someone. They’ll sleep on it.

Catch Them When They’re Good



Adelina Vasile

Mother, educator, journalist, copywriter. I write about the things I need to learn myself.