Preschool Skill: The Importance of Sharing
The importance of sharing is easily understood by homeschooling parents. Those with more than one child certainly understand the frustration of hearing “Mama! She won’t share!” over and over every single day. We want our kids to share with each other and with friends on playdates.
And sharing is one of the hardest concepts to teach our kids.
Why is so hard for toddlers and preschoolers to grasp the concept of sharing? Well, we are all born selfish. It is a lifelong struggle for every single person to shed the selfishness.
And in a young child’s eyes, they are number one in importance.
But it’s not our job to tear them down and make them feel less than.
It’s our job to show them how to love others.
What does the Bible say about sharing?
Some verses dealing directly with the word “sharing” talk about sharing our abundance with those in need, as in Ephesians 4:28 and Proverbs 22:9.
Hebrews 13:16 empathizes that sharing is a sacrifice, and God sees it as good.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.Hebrews 13:16
Philippians 2:3-4 says that we must show humility and put others above ourselves. Isn’t that what sharing is all about we ask children to share with others? We are asking them to put others wants and needs above their own selfish desires. That’s a difficult concept to teach to young preschoolers.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Ultimately, sharing is showing love. The greatest love shown was when Jesus laid down His life for us.
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.1 John 3:16-18
Why is it important to teach sharing?
Sharing helps us to show love to our friends and family. Other skills that sharing teaches is cooperation, taking turns, good manners, and friendship.
As a homeschooling parent, you will need your children to learn the importance of sharing in order to get along with siblings and have a smoother homeschooling day. Sharing will help foster good sibling relationships, too. And we want our children to maintain friendships which is easier when sharing skills are in place.
How do I teach sharing to preschoolers?
First of all, remember that sharing is NOT a natural skill! Please don’t expect your toddler or preschooler to share the first time you tell them to share. They have no clue why you are telling them to share their belongings with another person. And they still won’t understand for a while.
Expect tears and tantrums. Be prepared with what you are going to say and do.
Ways to teach sharing to preschoolers
- Practice – Always practice sharing before going on a playdate or having friends come over. This is very important. Prepare them with what will happen. Make sure they understand what the word “share ” means. A lot of times we tell a child to share for the first time, and they have no idea what we are talking about. Read books beforehand about sharing.
- Modeling – Model what sharing looks like. Share something of yours with your preschooler. Sharing food is good, but it doesn’t really show true sharing because they can’t give it back to you. Maybe share a hat or bracelet or a special pen with your child. Then you can model the right way and wrong way to share.
- Timer – I usually use timers when first teaching about sharing. When another child asks to use a toy my child is playing with, I will say, “Let’s start the timer. In 5 minutes, you can let your friend play with the toy for 5 minutes.” Usually timers are a great way to help children feel that sharing is “fair”.
- Books – Read books about sharing. Be sure to read to the bottom of this post to sign up to get FREE coloring pages illustrating sharing for your children!
- Talking – Make sure you are emphasizing the love we have for our friends and sibling and that sharing shows that love. Show them the Bible verses I’ve share and look up others. Talk about the different kinds of sharing that the Bible talks about (sharing our abundance with those in need, sharing our belongings).
- Time – It will take time, mama. Don’t feel like you failed if your child doesn’t share right away. This takes years for a child to learn the importance of sharing. Like I said, it’s an internal fight against our selfishness. Think of how many times a day we are selfish ourselves. And we are adults! It takes time, like all good things.
- Patience – Be patient when they don’t practice what you have talked about with him or her. God is patient day in and day out with our selfishness. We can show patience and compassion as they navigate these abstract ideas that we are teaching them. Just keep modeling, practicing, and talking about sharing….they will eventually get it, I promise!
Is it ever okay NOT to share?
Yes! You know what? There are certain things that I own that I don’t share. I don’t share breakable glassware with my toddler….I don’t share my wedding ring with my preschooler….I don’t share my last hair tie I have in the house with my 6-year old because I know she will lose it. And that’s okay. Now if I felt that God was wanting me to share one of my favorite things with someone, you can bet I would do it! But your preschooler should not be expected to share every toy they own.
One thing I do is that when we have friends coming over to play, I have my children go to their rooms and put up any special toys that they don’t want others to play with. Usually they will pick a new toy that they just received or a new Lego creation that they just built. And honestly, they usually just pick out one or two things. If I saw that they were putting away half their toys, then we would need to have some more talks about the importance of sharing.
Best Books about Sharing
- Llama, Llama, Time to Share
- Daniel Tiger: Friends Ask First
- Sharing Ninja
- Share and Take Turns
- I Can Share
Get FREE printable coloring pages about sharing!
Grab these free sharing coloring pages that illustrates the beauty of sharing to your children! One says “Sharing is Caring” and one has a Bible verse (1 John 3:18). Use these to initiate a lesson on sharing along with a book from the booklist above. You can do this!