How to teach toddlers
1. Start young. From the time your child can grasp an object, you can teach sharing by passing the object back and forth while saying “my turn, your turn.” Mann says, “Learning how to take turns is the first step in sharing.”
2. Be a role model. Practise sharing with your child at home and make it fun. Tell your toddler that you want to share the couch for a cuddle or talk about taking turns while enjoying an ice cream cone together.
3. Make believe. Mann recommends co-operative games that don’t involve a single winner for children three years old and up. While competition isn’t bad, Mann says, it isn’t appropriate for preschoolers.
4. Bring a pocket timer to playdates. When it rings, it’s your child’s turn to give a toy to her friend, then she gets it back once the timer rings again, and so on. “They start learning that giving something away isn’t for always,” says Mann. (Remember to give the other child’s parent a heads-up before the playdate, to ensure they’re on board.)
5. Finally, remember to use descriptive praise when your child does share. Instead of vague phrases like “You’re such a good boy,” Mann suggests you say something like “Did you see the smile on Bobby’s face when you gave him the truck? He really liked that.” Says Mann: “That draws his attention to concrete details of what he did.”