4 Tips on Modelling Appropriate Sharing Behaviours in a Childcare Environment

As anyone who regularly looks after toddlers can attest, teaching of sharing behaviours can be an ongoing battle. Here are some ways to model sharing behaviours while working at a childcare center to show children how to cope with sharing demands.

Show sharing between staff

Make a point to show how adults also share items, like pens or other resources. Showing that you can share with the other staff can help the toddlers see this as a grown-up behaviour. Show them some of the spaces and items that you share.

Demonstrate appropriate sharing with them

Set up games where they can come and ask to borrow items from you, and that you borrow items from them. You can do this as part of group projects such as mural painting, where you can allocate supplies and paint colours to different areas so that the children need to practise sharing.

You can also help to use descriptive words to describe when the item needs to be returned, or something that you may want in return. It can also be useful to include manners in this discussion, so that the children get used to saying 'please' and 'thank you'.

Role-play situations

Many children find in frustrating sharing and can lash out when asked to share. Role-play situations where they might have something taken from them, and help them work out scripts so that they can use language and negotiate with peers rather than lashing out. Many times having practised the situation previously can remove some of the emotion from the situation and help limit physical altercations.

It can be useful to also show in role-playing the role of tone and body language. You can demonstrate behaviours where a person is mimic appropriate words but behaving inappropriately such as throwing the disputed item away, whining or not making eye contact. This can help children to see how they may come across from the outside.

Have private items

Let each child have some private items such as teddies, which they can keep in a hidey-hole each day. Having some items that they don't have to share can give them some control and may help make them more willing share the items that they are asked to share. A personal bag or pigeonhole can be great for this purpose.

Helping your children to share with each other can be challenging but is an important part of their emotional development. Learning to share is an important benefit of the childcare environment.