Sharing can be a real sore spot for kids, and even some adults I know. I can recall scores of times saying to my daughter, “I know that’s yours, Sweet pea, but your friend would really like you to share.” Or, “Wouldn’t it be nice to share that with your cousin?” Or, in moments of exasperation, “You need to share that, or I’m taking it away.” That last one usually resulted in anger, tears, a reluctant acquiescence punctuated with an exclamation of “fine!”, or a combination.

Reflecting back on that time, I think it’s important to remember that it is natural for kids to grow attached to their favorite things, from treats to toys. They just need our help learning how and when to share. Games are great for beginning the process. For example, there were plenty of play dates where our young daughter and her friends would have issues around sharing toys. If they couldn’t resolve it on their own, we would ask her to get a game out to play with her friends.

This worked nearly every time. Unlike most things that get shared, a game is more fun to play with other people. So, that makes them fairly easy to share. And, when a child introduces a favorite game to others, she gets to show off her knowledge and skills by showing others how to play. This is great for building communication and mastery skills, as well as empathy and confidence.

While I definitely didn’t do this every time, it’s great to tell your kid how much you like how he or she shared a game, or a favorite toy, cookies or anything that matters to them. With a little encouragement and support, they will eventually become professional sharers.

Find your child’s next favorite game they’ll want to share with their friends at SimplyFun.

About the Author

For over 20 years, Matt Brown has been leading high-performing teams to develop vibrant business cultures, invent and launch high-impact branded platforms, and turn around underperforming brands and businesses. Matt consults with Fortune 500 and early stage companies, usually working with the C-suite. He also co-founded a couple of companies including big BOING, an integrated strategy, innovation and development company that partnered with Kraft, Disney, Coca Cola, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, Learning Curve and others to invent, design and launch (or completely overhaul) major domestic and international brands.