The desire to own and have the right of sole possession is ingrained in young children. It can be frustrating – yet it is a vital stage of children’s development process. Until kids are about two and three years old, they believe that everything centers around them. “It’s mine!” your little ones cry out, as they see someone picks their favorite toy, and take their stuff away from playmates. This is a normal thing. Kids are prone to act selfishly to learn the sense of ownership, which finally leads to the realization of sharing.
Sharing is a learned capacity. However, it doesn’t mean that kids don’t know how to share. In fact, they do, but they are likely to experience difficulties in doing it consistently. Kids also have a poorly developed grasp of time – therefore, it can be challenging for them to wait for their turn to play with a cherished toy. Every child is unique. Some kids better and easier learn the basics of give-and-take, whereas others can be not ready to share, even if they spend hours playing with peers on the playground. In any case, kids need consistent teaching to learn cooperative play and make sense of sharing as meaningful everyday experience.
Basic Things Children Need to Learn Sharing
To grow holistically and happily, kids need good meals, solid sleep and space to play and have fun. At an early age, parents mostly cater to children’s physical woes – they give them food, dress them, brush their teeth and keep them healthy. In fact, they do care, but they meet the external needs of their kids and may take less time to build close bonds with their precious ones.
The thing is that sharing comes only when children feel they are loved and cared. Before kids get understanding of sharing, they need to develop a strong sense of connection, emotional warmth and security with someone who cares. To feel relaxed and secure, kids need daily opportunities to interact with their parents and caregivers– laugh and play together as well as cry and get soothed, when they get hurt or frightened.
Lack of connection is a major reason why kids can be unable to share. They compensate it with a sense of need by wanting what someone else has or being unwilling to share something they have. Obviously, play stuff they don’t want to share is not the heart of the problem. By getting a coveted toy, they may look fine on the outside, while being upset on the inside. In one of these ways, children ask parents for closeness that will help them grasp the essence of sharing.
How to Encourage Your Child to Share
As we have already concluded, sharing comes through caring. It is a vital skill to help children grow confident and develop social skills necessary to get along with peers and make friends.
Here is a list of basic tips and preschool education activities to help them learn cooperation and sharing:
• Teach by example
Nothing works better than setting a good example by modeling sharing behavior and generosity at home or in a preschool family. Parents and caregivers can encourage sharing when they share themselves and take actions that goes with what they say. To learn themselves to share, children should observe others do the same way in everyday life.
• Create an environment for sharing
Children can take part in funny turn-take games that motivate them to share toys and some tangible materials with peers as well as activities that encourage them to share their time and affection with family members. Waiting and take-turn activities for preschoolers provide challenging, yet valuable experience for kids. By taking turns, kids learn to control their impulses and realise the opportunity for other participants to have a chance. Family playtime can also be an effective way to introduce kids to the essence of sharing. Parents can join children’s activities and ask them to share some toys with them. This leads to more engagement and closer ties among parents and their youngsters.
• Praise sharing behavior
Bolstered by caregivers’ and parents’ praise, children feel secure and show more intent to cooperate and share. Punishment or forced behavior won’t work, as this can make them feel uncertain about the security of their possessions. Children need to be free of pressure to share. Instead of forcing or threatening kids, when they don’t want to compromise, reward and act positively and energetically for the good things they do. In the course of time, they will see that sharing is a good pattern to follow.
• Accept problem solving
When a battle over a toy arises, a reasonable decision is to take a neutral position and let kids manage the conflict on their own. If both kids challenge the toy without teasing and hurting each other, it is a good way to find out whether they can handle the situation by themselves. Sometimes, offering a different toy can distract a frustrated kid and resolve the conflict. If this doesn’t help, it is better to get involved and embark kids on a different sort of activity, or even take the toy away for some time.
• Let kids have some toys unshared
It is natural for children to have toys that are very special to them. Sharing is important, but there are some exceptions. Kids should know that there are some things that belong to them only. During a playdate at home, children can choose a couple of special toys which they don’t want let others play and put them away from share-free stuff.
Practices that encourage kids to share should be ingrained in everyday kids’ routine, both at home and in a classroom. At Montessori preschool Los Angeles, children are encouraged to be patient, generous and respectful about each other’s feelings. In a multi-age classroom, kids participate in activities where older kids set a positive example of sharing to younger ones. Children catch on to politeness and hospitality. Through cooperative play and project work, they build relationships with peers, which also helps them with the idea of sharing.