Toronto Zoo

Teaching toddlers how to share


By Daddy Nickell


An important lesson every child learns one way or another throughout his life is how to share with others. With six kids of my own, and one more on the way, I’ve learned many tips that have helped me teach my children to share.


  1. Lead by Example: When teaching your child to share it’s important to lead by example and do your part by sharing your things with those around you. Share whenever possible and make a point to discuss the importance of sharing with your child. There are lots of things to can share with your family everyday, and when you do so, make a point to highlight the act of sharing.


  1. Positive Reinforcement: It all about the positive reinforcement and encouragement. You have to make your child want to share. One way to inspire this behavior is with rewards. Allow your child to earn points/stickers/rewards every time they share, and after a certain amount of time they can work up to a greater reward such as a special activity of their choosing. Decide upon a reward system that works for your family and be consistent.


  1. Communicate: If your child is having a hard time sharing talk with them and try to figure out what’s going on. Discuss why sharing is important and is a nice thing to do. Give your child the opportunity to genuinely and openly explain why they don’t want to share their belongings, and go from there. You might just be surprised at what you learn and uncover.


  1. Be Patient: Learning to share doesn’t happen overnight, and often times being overly possessive can be a phase your toddler will grow out of. In times of doubt, just be patient and positive and continue working toward the ultimate goal of sharing.


These tips have been helpful for me in the past, and I hope they’ll work for you too.


Daddy Nickell, father of 6, founder of and the Daddyscrubs parenting blog offers his "5 cents" worth of advice to expectant and new parents.