Guest Author - Julixa Newman
Teaching your multiples how to share can be a very simple task when it's done correctly-and from the very beginning. Here are a couple of tips to help your children get into the “sharing game.”
Begin as early as possible
As toddlers, when you're giving one twin a treat or a toy, you should always have them hand one to their sibling. For example, I would always give one child two cookies and ask her to give the other cookie to her sister. When she would do so I would make sure to praise her for sharing. After a couple of times, I didn't even have to tell them anymore. They would automatically know to ask for two!
Always make sure that when you see your children sharing, you give them positive reinforcement. Praise them for what they are doing and make sure that the person (I say person and not child because I have come across adults that don't do this) they are sharing with says “thank you.” It is important that your child sees that sharing makes others happy as well.
Lead by Example
Telling your children to share, and actually having them see you do the same are two very different things. Make sure that your children see you sharing as well. Make it a point to share anything possible with your spouse/partner and vice-versa. This will show your children that sharing is not just for kids but for everyone in the family! This way, hopefully they won't act selfish if at a friend's house, when another child asks them for a half of a cookie, or a handful of popcorn.
You might run into the occasional “I don't want to” when you ask your children to share, and that needs to be OK. You can't expect your children to want to share everything. When this happens look at your child in the eyes and say, “ I know this is very important to you, but it is important to share with your siblings so that they do the same when they have something you like.” Do not get angry if they decide against it. If you can, take another item and share it yourself with that sibling. This might not get the non-sharer to automatically follow your lead but it will show them that it really isn't as bad as it seems.
When an item is the cause of an argument or tantrum I call in the big guns. Yes, my good ol' timer. I sit with the kids and tell them that since we only have one of those toys we will have to share and take turns with them. I set the timer for one minute and we take turns. This becomes a game and many times the timer becomes more fun than the actual toy!
Sometimes, these tips will not work right away, and you'll find yourself wanting to hide in a closet-but be patient. Children learn habits over time, and they will soon catch on to it. Make sure you put yourself in their shoes. It's not easy to have to share everything all the time. In reality, you probably don't want them to. It's more than fair to let them have some things to call their own. This may help them part with other items more easily.