A new study has found that sharing behavior in children may be connected to their counting skills, and these two things do not seem to go together. Child development is a complex thing, and there are so many things that we continue to not know. Experts and researchers are always looking into the behavior of children to try and see why they think the way they do, and what motivates them to act the way they do. These studies are helpful to parents because they can often be the only “guide” they have when it comes to raising children.
They can also just be fascinating to think about. According to Medical Xpress, a study was done that showed that sharing behavior among young children may be related to their counting skills. This study was published in the journal, Child Development, and it can be read in full here.
Researchers looked at children’s fair sharing behavior and how it related to their number knowledge, working memory, and cognitive control. They found that counting skills were the biggest predictor of whether a child would share fairly with their peers.
Nadia Chernyak, one of the researchers on the project, stated that this is the first study to look at the connection between sharing and counting. They thought that children who do not share properly would benefit from lessons on counting properly which would provide them with the “behavioral tools” needed.
They looked at a group of three to five-year-olds, and after their tests and studies, they found that sharing behavior could be improved with a short counting intervention. When they completed their study again on a bigger sample size, they came to the exact same conclusion.
This has led researchers to believe that the reason a lot of children do not share well is because they are not that great at counting yet. They are still learning to count, so they cannot process sharing.
An example would be if they had five jellybeans, and were asked to share 1 of them, they could not comprehend that they would still have 4 left if they shared one. These are the types of skills that a child needs to understand fair sharing.
They also don’t have a concept of the half, so splitting something evenly, to make it “fair,” is challenging for them and parents are then met with resistance when it comes to sharing.