Thursday, April 16, 2009


How Au Pairs and Nannies Teach Kids To Share

Children cannot understand the concept of sharing until they are between three and four years old. Until that time they will need adult supervision to encourage sharing.

When visitors come over it is a good idea to put each child’s favorite toys and belongings away so that the children are not pressured into sharing their most precious treasures.

Place labels on toys before bringing toys to playgroup. Clearly marking toys encourages children to share their things with their friends since it ensures that the toys will be returned to them.

Before friends come over to play, take a moment with the children you care for to explain what is expected of them. You might say to a child, “If you put a toy down, then you have finished playing with it allowing others to play with it for awhile. If you still have the toy in your hand, you may continue and keep playing with the toy."

To help solve the problem stay at a close range when one and two year olds play. Children younger than three years old should not be expected to share without supervision.

Timing turns: Calmly show the children how sharing works. Let them know you will be setting a time limit for how long each child can play with a toy, (using a kitchen timer works well). When the children hear the timer ring, then it is the other child’s turn to play with the toy.

Give the toy a time-out: When all else fails and a specific toy is causing a problem and a child won’t share, remove the toy and place the toy in a time-out.

Don’t penalize for the occasional slip up of not sharing: If it’s only on the odd occasion a child is not willing to share, remove the object rather than lecturing the child.

Do you have any tips or advice about teaching children to share for nannies or au pairs?


Anonymous said...

For toddlers that can't really understand sharing I play the "sharing game." I just say "Let's play sharing! You hold the doll, now Samantha holds the doll. You hold the ball, now Roger holds the ball." Rather than getting into lectures about sharing.
Mindy, W. Nyack NY

Anonymous said...

It is hard for little ones to grasp the concept-
when their mindset is "MINE!"
It's very challenging to teach sharing- but the most challenging times are the BEST teaching times!

If a situation arises, I let them know there is only one of this...and other friends may want a turn to play with it. You can enjoy it for a while- and when you are done, then it's their turn- and when they are done, then it's your turn again. When we share everyone has fun!
It also teaches them patience to wait for their turn- or to have a "PLAN B"- and try to decide what they can to do while they wait.

If they see a child with something they want-
I teach them to say- "I really like that toy/swing,etc. too- and want to play with it- can I please have a turn when you are done with it?" More than not the child is happy to share- if not, the adult who is caring for them steps in to help.
Sometimes the child cries- but I always tell my charge to thank them for sharing and to ask them if they want a turn when they are done.

~Andrea -Professional Career Nanny/Northern, NJ