How to Help Your Child Make Friends and Learn to Share?
Updated: Sep 22
Source: Our Tampines Childcare’s Facebook
Watching toddlers making friends around them and playing with each other for the first time is such a joy. Learning to share can be a challenge for the toddlers, but sharing is a skill which the toddlers need to learn to make, keep friends and play well with them.
In this article, I shared some tips and suggestions with you which you can help your toddler to make friends with other toddlers and learn to share toys or take turns when playing with them.
Prepare the toddler for toddler friendships.
The toddler doesn’t yet understand the skills needed for friendship such as sharing, taking turns and solving problems. Help the toddler start learning and practising these skills by spending time playing together. Through play, the parent can show the toddler how to play well with other toddlers. For example,
Help the toddler learn to take turns by playing and practising taking turns as when playing. Take turns to add blocks to a tower or to kick a ball and prompt the toddler by saying ‘My turn’ and ‘Your turn’.
Help the toddlers’ playdates go smoothly.
Play is how the toddler learns. The more the toddler plays with other toddlers, the more likely the toddler is to learn to play well.
Set things up for the toddler and playmate.
- Ask the toddler whether there are any toys wants to put away before other toddlers come over.
- Put away the toddler’s favourite toys and help the toddler choose some toys and games which is happy to share.
- Set up games where toddlers can share and play side by side.
- Turn-taking games such as sandpit play, painting, building with blocks, throwing balls, or playing with dolls and cars.
- Try to have lots of toys for the toddlers to play with so the toddlers are not competing for one favourite thing.
Suggestions to help toddlers get along:
Source: Our Preschool Tampines’s Facebook
- Keep playdates short such as thirty minutes to an hour.
- Finish the playdate while it is going well, rather than waiting until the toddlers get tired, cranky and teary. The toddler will remember the playdate and will want to have a playdate again.
- Sit with the toddlers for a while when start playing. Wait until the toddlers have found the rhythm and are playing happily together before leaving the toddlers to play.
- Stay near the toddlers to see and hear what is going on.
Step in quickly if play is getting too rough or there are squabbles over toys.
Being able to see the parent will also help the toddler feel safe and comfortable.
When things go wrong on toddler playdates
- The toddlers can get very frustrated quickly and often don’t have words to express. This can lead to the toddler being aggressive towards another toddler when things aren’t going the toddler’s way.
- If the parent senses things are getting tense, distract the toddlers by saying something like, Let’s play with cars. The toddler can have the blue one. The toddler’s playmate has the red one. Leave the place so that the toddlers can continue playing.
- The toddler might not understand that the playmate who is playing with the toys isn’t going to take the toys home. Assure the toddler that the toys will remain at home.
If you are looking to take your child out for a play in the day without sun, do check out our article on "Indoor Playgrounds in Singapore".
Learn to share
Source: Our Childcare Tampines’s Facebook
A three year old toddler starts to understand the concept of turn-taking. But the toddler might still throw a tantrum or snatch the toy if another toddler takes a toy that the toddler wants.
Learning to share can be a challenge for the toddler but sharing is a skill the toddler needs for play and learning to make and keep friends. Help the toddler learn to share by giving time and opportunities to practise. Praise and encourage for good sharing will help too. Once the toddler starts having playdates and going to childcare, the toddler needs to be able to share with other toddlers. The toddler who shares learns how to take turns and negotiate and how to cope with disappointment.
Help the toddler learn about sharing.
- The toddler learns a lot from just watching what the parents do. When the parents’ model good sharing and turn-taking in the family, it gives the toddler a great example to follow.
- The toddler also needs opportunities to learn about and practise sharing.
Suggestions to encourage sharing in everyday life:
- When the parent sees the toddler trying to share or take turns, praises the toddler.
- Play games with the toddler that involve sharing and turn-taking.
- Talk to the toddler about sharing before starting playdates with another toddler or start going to childcare.
When Charlie comes over, the toddler needs to share some toys with Charlie.
Check with Charlie what she likes to play with.
- Ask the toddler to share fruits or food with the parent.
Consequences for not sharing:
- If the toddlers are not sharing the toy, take away the toy from them.
Hope this article is helpful for you to help your toddler make friends and learn to share.
If you have new suggestions about helping toddlers make friends and learning to share, WhatsApp us.
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