Sharing is a complex skill to master. There are many foundation skills for children to be able to share. As in other areas of development, children need to have an awareness of themselves and others (i.e. moving from an egocentric ‘me’ understanding of the world to a ‘you’ and ‘me’ understanding of the world), they need to be aware that objects still exist, even when you cannot see them (object permanence) and they need to understand the concepts ‘here’ and ‘there’ across space (i.e. when you move something it goes ‘there’ and is no longer ‘here’). Children also need to be able to trust the person they are sharing with and be emotionally ready for sharing. For example, some children learn sharing by getting something back, after someone has held the object they released for a very short period of time. Here they are learning about reading another’s intentions, understanding and trusting the concept of sharing while learning about planning and sequencing and being with and interacting with another person.
Some children may find it hard to share because developmentally they may not be ready to share. They may not understand the other person’s perspective and may explicitly need to be taught what sharing means and why it is important. Some children have misinterpreted the meaning of sharing for example; they may have thought they were sharing their favourite toy with another child for a short period of time, to get it back. If the child then takes it and runs off with that toy, the meaning of sharing becomes ‘I share my favourite toy and it disappears’. There are developmental stages in learning to share.
If you would like to find out more about sharing and how to help your child to share, please contact us for a consultation.