Baby Prince George plays with toy

Prince George did what comes naturally for a child of his age when he snatched another child's toy on royal visit to New Zealand last year.

While it is generally accepted that teaching children to share as they grow is a positive step, it is hard for children to understand that they can't have everything they want, when they want it.

There are things I don't like sharing either – my car, my laptop, my favourite dress, for example. But I don't mind sharing a recipe, a good book or a bottle of wine!

Here are some tips to help your small kids learn to share.

1. Plan ahead

When a friend is coming to your house to play, ask their parent to pack a couple of toys for their child to share with yours.

2. Encourage communication

If another child wants to play with something belonging to your child, which they don't want to share, instead of just saying "No!" encourage them to explain why they need the toy – perhaps it is new, broken or a favourite – or to suggest another one.

3. It's OK to have special toys

Let children know they don't have to share all their toys.

Ask them to choose a few special things to put aside when friends come over that stay out of sight until the play date is over.

4. Wait their turn

A good basic rule is to teach children to ask for things they want to play with rather than just taking them and then to wait their turn.

This teaches fairness, too. If the children really can't wait, use a timer that allows each child time equal with the toy.

5. Explain expectations in advance

Explain that if a friend is coming to play, there is an expectation that they will want to play with their toys.

If they aren't going to share, ask them what they will play with and why have the friend come over at all? Remind your child they can play with the toy alone when they are alone.

6. Use toys for shared play

Encourage the use of toys and games that are more fun if played with more than one person – cards, Lego, puzzles, crafts for example.

Try and get the kids to work together at building a tower, organising a Top Trumps game or creating a picture.

7. Let them figure it out

Where possible, try and let the children work out sharing issues themselves.

If you intervene every time voices are raised, they will never learn how to sort out these problems on their own.

8. Offer praise

Make a point of noticing and praising kids when sharing is happening.

9. Be a good role model

Children learn almost everything by example so make sure they see you sharing with your friends and family, too.

10. Help them understand

Remind your kids that if they don't share with others, no one will share with them either.