4 Rules to Teach Your Children to Share

4 Rules to Teach Your Children to Share
María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist María Alejandra Castro Arbeláez.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Here are some tips and rules that can help you teach your children to share with others.

If they are an only child, raise them as if they had siblings

Even though it doesn’t always play out this way, sharing tends to come less naturally to only children, as they have been the centers of their families since they were born. So, if you have an only child, don’t raise them with the idea that they deserve everything or that everyone else should treat them like royalty. 

All the members of the family should take part in household chores, without exception. Treats that are brought into the home should be shared with everyone. For example, if you suddenly have some leftover money in your budget, get a toy for the child, some perfume for mom and a new shirt for dad because everyone deserves a treat equally.

Children sharing an ice cream cone

Don’t force them to share

One of the main rules for teaching your children to share is not to force them to do it. 

Whenever another human being forces you to carry out an action, in general, you get the opposite effect. They respond with rebellion or the effect is achieved, but at the cost of their happiness.

Never force your children to share. If they don’t want to let their friends use their favorite car when they’ve come over to your house, don’t take it out of the hiding place where your little boy or girl put it and give it to the other children. By doing that, you will just get them to throw a tantrum and they will lose trust in you.

A better option is to speak to your son or daughter about how the other children will feel playing with the toy before their friends show up. Remind them of the times they visited friends’ houses and they shared with each other.

Use all the possible tools so that your child feels comfortable seeing others play with their car by the time the group arrives. However, if in the end of all that, you haven’t managed to convince them, don’t make them do what they don’t want to do.

The moment will come when you do achieve your goal.

Teach them sharing through your example

Your child is learning from the adults around them. So they learn how to share, do the same with them. Set an example yourself.

Your child sees their best teacher in you. If you tend to be a selfish person who is too possessive about your possessions, you won’t be able to expect a child to be so different. 

For this reason, in order to teach your child to share, you have to be less possessive about your things.

If we’re dealing with valuable objects that can be broken, sit your child down on the bed in order to avoid accidents. Let them look at it, touch it, hold it and explore it.

Keep in mind that they need to see first-hand how good it is to share, how good it feels when others share their belongings with them and trust them, even with their most precious objects. 

Share the good feelings as well

Three children sharing a sandwich

When we talk about sharing, the idea that comes to mind for us is lending someone our possessions or offering others food that we have. However, feelings are shared as well as material things. This is fundamental when teaching your child to share. 

Hugs, kids, cuddles, loving words, praise… all of these actions that imply loving feelings should be shared.

Your child should know what loving means and what makes humans share affections with others, exchanging hugs or kisses when we say goodbye to someone and doing good deeds.

If they have the chance to spread happiness to someone by sharing pleasant news with them, that they do it. This is also sharing.

Everything that is good inside them should be shared with those around them and the people that they deal with, even strangers.

Finally, to teach your child to share, tell them that you never support the bad actions of others. That you don’t base your behavior on what others do or don’t do.

Those who know how to share will have a better life than those who never learn to do so. 

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.