If your family participates in gift giving during the holidays there may be some tears when a child does not receive the gift they want. Or possibly feelings of jealousy if a sibling, cousin, or other family member receives a preferred gift. You can use this as a great opportunity to teach your child about sharing.
Teaching your child to share is one of the foundational skills they will need to learn to be successful in school. Luckily, teaching your child to share doesn’t have to be complicated and can be easily worked on at home with the skill carrying over to the school environment.
1. We want to start by Delaying Gratification (check out our blog post here about Delaying Gratification) for tips and strategies about how to best delay gratification. In summary, we want to teach our child to wait and be patient because when they are sharing an item with someone, they need to wait while the other child looks / plays with it.
2. Use “First/Then” terminology (click here to read our blog post about First/Then) Using the phrase “First/Then” lets a child know what is currently happening, what is expected of them, and what will happen next. When teaching sharing we can use “First/Then” language in phrases such as “First you play with the toy, Then it is sister’s turn” or “First your friend gets to read this book, Then it will be your turn.” This way the child understands who gets to play with the toy now, and then when it will be their turn.
3. Use A Visual Timer (click here to read about Visual Timers) Using a Visual Timer together with “First/Then” terminology can be a very useful tool to help teach patience. For example we can say, “First you play with the toy for 2 minutes, Then it is sister’s turn” or “First your friend gets to choose what game we are going to play for 5 minutes, and Then you get to pick what game we play.”
By using “First/Then” terminology and a Visual Timer we are teaching our child two crucial concepts:
Remember when teaching sharing this process takes time, so don’t expect your child to understand this advanced concept overnight. Even little bits of sharing with others (even if it is just for a few seconds) are steps in the right direction.
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions.
See you soon!
Michael Jankowski, MS, OTR/L
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