7 Easy Ways to Get Your Kids to Share
Some parents have the tendency to spoil their kids with everything they could possibly need, and more – but as soon as a child enters a social situation, like being on a play-date, attending school or coming to terms with the arrival of another sibling, teaching him or her to share becomes one of the most tough and stressful episodes around the house.
If previously spoiled like that, some children will obviously have trouble when it comes to sharing even the most trivial of things – it is not about themselves anymore, its about their possessions and its assertion. It is not something to fret about though- almost all children show signs of this behavior more or less, and this is a normal part of the development process. However, teaching kids how to share their things is not to as tough as rocket science and here are many easy ways in which you can get your kids to be a little more selfless with their possessions, and a little more sharing in giving in their behavior – leading them up to become generous human beings.
Practice what you preach
Children learn about social interactions by observing adults – little things like how you behave with certain people and your demeanor around them provides upon your child an impression that shapes the way he or she thinks. If you aren’t too good at sharing your things, your child too wouldn’t find it too useful to share his own things – you see where it is coming from. Show and teach a child that it’s okay to share their possessions and back it up with verbal affirmations like, “See, I shared my (possession) with (another person) and it makes me feel good. Isn’t sharing fun?” These little tidbits of strategic learning through the course of a child’s daily routine would help him understand how sharing can feel good, and that in turn, will make you feel better as a parent.
Reward them when they share
The important thing about children is that they are very prone to do things for affection – they love to be praised and thus, a good way to get them to share their things with others would perhaps be to praise them every time they make the selfless gesture of sharing one of their prized possessions with someone. Remember the fact, that even the most seemingly insignificant things can be very important to a child and if he or she shares it with someone, then it probably has been done so to please you, and in turn, enjoy your affection. Now, does that not make your heart brimming with joy?
Don’t force a kid to share everything
Forcing a child to do something against their will result in negative repurcussions. Grownups often forget that a blankie or a night time toy probably means a lot more to a child than they can imagine – child sometimes connects to an inanimate object in a way that he or she cannot with a real person. A bath toy, for example, may be an imaginary friend that helps them ward off fears of drowning and a favorite stuffed toy may be a confidant who listens to all their secrets – and hence, the fear of loss and ultimate explosion of his or her emotions in protest of something dear being snatched away ensues. If your child is particularly against sharing a few personal items, respect his or her choice and don’t ever force him to share them with others.
Ensure that your child isn’t being raised to be too materialistic
Young ones, who are raised by people who tend to value material possessions and cherish them unabashedly, even in front of their children have a harder time sharing their things with others, than those children who see sharing of things on a regular basis at their homes. This again, comes from observation and following in on the interactions of the elders. Even if you love your things dearly, and find a little materialism harmless, try to control your desire to flaunt them in front of the kids. Share your prized possessions with others every once in a while to let the child know and understand that it’s completely alright to share things that you may love dearly.
Ensure that your child knows how sharing benefits him
It may sound absolutely terrible to teach your child that if he shares his or her things with someone, he or she would get something else in return, but very young kids really don’t have the means to understand how altruism works. In situations like play-dates, at preschool or even at home with other siblings, all your kid needs to know is that when he shares one of his things, others share their things with him too. This kind of simple action-consequences association is easier for a young child to understand than the pleasure of grand selfless gestures.
Provide your children with opportunities to share
In order to let your little one know how sharing works, maybe you need to create opportunities where your child actually gets to perform the act of sharing. It might not need to be selfless at first, and it might not need to be totally voluntary from the kid’s perspective. You may try a situation like having the little one participate in a family breakfast or any group activity, where you casually just ask him or her to ‘share’ the syrup or ‘share’ the ball, for instance. Knowing and perceiving that the word ‘share’ does not always correspond with ‘giving up’, your kid might start opening up more to the idea of sharing and will ultimately come to understand the true meaning of generosity.
Take turns during activity time with your baby
You can teach the basics of sharing even when you are having activity time with your baby! If you are reading a story book or coloring a painting book, show him/her how both of you can finish a single task if you did it together by sharing the work. Let her finish one page, and then you do the next – follow the same routine even while playing games, or solving puzzles. Once he or she knows that sharing can also mean fun, they will instantly open up to the idea.