Children, especially preschoolers, tend to be very possessive of their belongings, even to the extent of being possessive about the people around them. Teaching them the art of sharing is a big, yet basic step in parenting.
Ever tried taking a toy from a child? What follows next is howling, screaming and crying. What does this have to do with teaching the art of sharing? Well, to answer that, let’s take a look at the psychology of a child. Psychologists all over the world have observed, that children aged 2-6 years, are generally over possessive about their surroundings. Though they inhibit these traits later in life and learn to be sensitive to others feelings, teaching a child the skill of living in harmony is the sole responsibility of the child’s parent, that’s you and your family. Children are good learners and the best part is that children can be molded to behave in a particular manner, especially if they are trained in the formative years of their growth. So to say, your job as a parent is not only to take care of the needs of the child, but also to teach them to adapt to the world at large. After all, teaching how to share is a smaller part of inculcating values that show them how to care for others that includes you as well.
Preschool Sharing Activities
Teaching a child how to share can be an intimidating task, but as a parent, it is your assumed duty to teach them nevertheless. The best way to go about teaching them to share is not through mere preaching but through deeds. Lest you forget, it is beneficial to allow your child to interact with others of his/her age. Apart from teaching your child at a personal level, your child will learn to live in a symbiotic existence with others even at a playschool/nursery. Given below are activities that will help your child learn sharing at the home front as well as at a group level.
“Charity Begins at Home”
Yeah, you got this right! Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that children are your mirror image and blindly ape your actions. If your child observes you sharing things with others at home, he/she is likely to follow suit. Make it a habit to share food items and other things with your child. Remind your child time and again that by giving something from what is your share hasn’t taken away anything from you. In return, you can ask your child to share a biscuit or a piece of chocolate with you and remember to thank them. It helps to know that children pick up things very easily and this act of sharing something with them will ensure, they remember to share things with others too. Basically, you will have to explain the concept of sharing and how it helps strengthen bonds, and do not forget to support it with your actions.
Some Things are Better Shared
Well, I intend to say, rope in your older children, and treat the kids equally. Teaching one to share and be tolerant is equivalent to teaching all. Healthy interactions between siblings is vital for the child to learn tolerance and sharing. You would have to make your kids understand that the toys belong equally to each of them and by sharing, they are merely increasing the beauty of playing. For a child, his/her possessions are his/her world, it is best to instill in them the habit of asking permission from the other sibling when taking their things, and to return them with gratitude. Sharing toys, color pencils, books, food and other things will help your kids understand each other better. To enforce the habit of sharing, you might have to be ready to shower your kids with a lot of positive reinforcement.
Isn’t it fun when you can learn while you play? Playtime is equivalent to interaction time, which means time for learning. The amount of time your child spends interacting with siblings, cousins and other children around him/her, is an indicative of how accommodating your child will be in the future. As parents, it is but natural for you to be possessive of your child, but hey, being over possessive will only harm your child. It is best to allow them to interact more with their age group, thus enhancing their adjustment and sharing ability. Rarely will you find children who have spent their childhood in the company of siblings to be possessive of their belongings. Needless to say, you won’t have to put in much effort to make your child comfortable in the company of others as your child will automatically gel with other children.
Family Time Activities
Board Games: Games like ludo, chutes and ladders (snakes and ladders), pick-up sticks, etc., teach children the importance of turn taking.
Solve a Puzzle: Perfect game for two or more, shuffle the puzzle pieces and distribute equally among the children. Let them solve it piece by piece.
Building Bridges through Blocks: What better way to keep your kids engaged than to give them building blocks and asking them to make something creative.
Color Me Right: Isn’t it unfair to give color pencils to one and color pens to another? Problem is solved when you ask them to exchange them between each other.
Help Me Alright: Ask your child to help you out with odd chores, it could be painting easter eggs or shopping. After all, isn’t helping out with chores, sharing too?
“A Home Away from Home”
Come Let’s Learn
Enroll your child at a playschool to boost interaction and the ability to share. Your home environment obviously acts as a base foundation for your child, but the playschool will work in multiple ways, where your kid will learn as well as adjust. Playschools come equipped with a lot of learning material, which promote healthy interactions between your child and other children. You should remember that a child learns as much from doing as he/she does from imitating. A playschool will allow your child to do both, imitate the teacher as well as initiate the action. A playschool in the right sense is a “home away from home.”
A Little Helping, A Little Giving
Have you heard the story of the Stone Soup? Well, what makes this story outstanding is the act of sharing which makes everyone happy in the end. There’s a hymn that aptly fits in here, “A little loving, a little giving, to build a dream for the world we live in….” Children at school learn a lot through stories, rhymes, songs, and most importantly, playtimes. Schools conduct games and activities which boost not only the morale of the child, but also stress on team work. One thing is for sure, the most unexpected things happen and your child whom you feared to be selfish would have now changed, miracles do happen!
One for All – All for One
Mosaic Color: Again the same rule applies, give the supplies to the children and ask them to share and the resultant picture, will be a work of art.
Potluck: What fun to share lunch with everyone else! So many things to eat, all in a day.
Blocks Too Many: Distribute blocks of different shapes and ask the children to solve a puzzle by sharing blocks with each other.
Opposite Poles: Create a stack of positive and negative signs, shuffle and distribute among children, ask them to change cards with the opposite pole and simultaneously share candy with the one who has a negative card.
Children with all their innocence will tend to be over possessive, and at times, it is beneficial for them as well. However, teaching them to share and adjust to people around them is not a daunting task, if you know how to play your cards well. Teaching children to make good choices in life is your responsibility, live wisely and choose well and finally remember to share as well, for every action of yours is being closely monitored by your child.