The Power of Sharing
It’s mine!!! Who hasn’t heard his/her child saying that at least once in a while? Sometimes we hear it more often that we would like….
Well, they are children and they are learning how to share, yes, that is right; but our job as parents is to teach them this very helpful skill as early as we can.
I love the book by Robert Munsch called We Share Everything. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it especially if you have small children at home. The story begins with a boy trying to grab a book from a little girl’s hands and as the girl refuses to give it to him he starts to yell. That is when the teacher comes and says: “Look, this is kindergarten and in kindergarten we share, we share everything!” The message is clear: by kindergarten students should be able to share everything. The truth is, it’s not always like that.
I taught kindergarten for a few years. It was a great learning experience, but having a child of my own has skilled me in the beautiful ‘art of sharing.’
I know, parents … it is not an easy task! Children can have such a difficult time when sharing their belongings, such as toys, games, books and even their own parents’ attention.
We need to start early and slowly; creating a predictable routine that demonstrates to our little ones how to share their personal belongings is the best bet. The use of the words: my turn, your turn, somebody else’s turn should be part of the daily vocabulary when trying to incorporate sharing techniques.
Being a good role model when it comes to sharing will also teach this lesson very quickly. We cannot expect that our children will be able to share their belongings when they hear us saying, “No, this is mine; go get yours…”
Another great opportunity to teach our children to collaborate with others and share their possessions is when we take them to playdates. A conversation with our child (at home, please, never in the car when driving to a place) explaining our expectations for an ideal playdate is a must before leaving the house.
It is important to reassure our children that giving something away for a while is not the same as giving something away forever.
We can even use a timer to support this task; a visual and concrete tool can help much more than just words. Teach children how to use a timer when sharing toys with a friend. Set it for one or two minutes and let your children know that they can have the toy for that amount of time and when the time is over, they will have to pass it to a friend. Children will most likely use a timer at school, as well, if they are not already using it, so that will give them some consistency.
There are a lot of other strategies that can support a child who is learning how to share. Talk to your children; ask them what you can do to help them to alleviate the anxiety that comes with sharing a beloved toy; create your own strategies; talk to other parents and to your child’s teacher. You are not alone!
We all need a great support network to help us with the big task of raising a child. As the proverb says, “It takes a village.” That is so true, but above all, being patient and loving with our children will make everything possible.
Claudia Sasse is a mom, teacher and graduate student working on her master’s degree in elementary education. Born in Brazil, Sasse has lived in Airdrie with her husband and daughter since 2009.