You want to be proud of your child; you want your friends and family to notice and comment on your child’s great manners. But let’s be honest, teaching a terrible two-year old manners can be like drawing blood out of a stone. The terrible two’s is infamous among today’s parents – for a good reason too.
The terrible two’s is a stage your child goes through: usually, they will behave really bad: screaming, crying, not listening to you, being selfish and even biting are common -symptoms’ of the terrible twos. How do you teach your toddler to share, or simply just have manners, when they are going through a stage like this?
Is your child selfish?
Sharing is not something a child is born with – it needs to be taught. And this usually takes a lot of time and patience. So, the only way you teaching generosity will be easy is if they are born with a sharing personality. If not, you’re in for a difficult teaching lesson.
Do cries of -mine! , -give! , or -leave! sound familiar? If your child is being a little too selfish, these are the kinds of words they will often use. Everything you need to know about your child is in their behaviour. When your child acts like this, it’s often towards their playmates or friends at school, at the nursery or at home. And if you are around when something like this happens, you should sort it out immediately by explaining to your child how bad it is to be selfish, and how good it is to share. At this age, they need to start learning and identifying the distinction between what’s good and what’s bad.
How to teach Your toddler to share
Focusing on this one extremely important trait, how do you go about teaching your toddler to share? Here are some great tips:
- One of the most important things to keep in mind when teaching your child to share is not to punish them for not sharing. Forcing your toddler to do something they don’t want to, like giving away one of her favourite toys to a friend, may spark resentment – not generosity. Your child will start to resent you for making her do something she does not want to. And frankly, you are just wasting your time – when you are not around, your child will not display generosity, in fact, they may even act worse because of the resentment they feel toward you. So remember, punishment equals resentment, which equals spiteful, bad behaviour. It is all and well that you want your children to have great manners, but keep in mind sharing is also a personal decision.
- A useful strategy to follow to encourage your child’s sharing is to praise and reward them when they are sharing. Reward them with more play time, TV time, snacks or treats or anything you know they will love. Doing this will encourage them to share more, so they can receive more.
- To make it easier for your child to share, put away special toys when you are expecting one of their friends to come over. If it’s not there, the other child can’t play with it, which means your child is less likely to behave badly. Be prepared.
- One of the other most important things you can do to help your child develop their generosity is to lead by example. Children often imitate their parents. Putting on make-up, walking around in high heels wherever they go, wanting to drive the car or shave – this is all an imitation of what they see you doing. If they see you sharing your things with them or your friends, they will do it too. If they see you not wanting to share, they will think it is fine, and imitate you. So lead by example, it’s the best teacher.
- You can also ask your friends that have children, or your toddler’s playmate’s parents to teach their child some sharing techniques. You can even teach your children together by making them take turns on playing with toys. And make sure they have fun; compromise – it will encourage them to share even more.
Patience, patience, patience
Remember, your child is just that – your child. Be as patient as you possibly can – it’s going to take a lot of effort and time to get your child to share, so don’t be hasty and don’t push too hard. Give them time and love – that’s all they need.