Guiding your child to share and care

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By Beth Pinyerd
For the Opelika
Observer

Luke 10:27 – “He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
What a wonderful world we would have if everyone took the time to share what they have with others! To meet the needs of others with food, material items or time are lessons that we need to teach our young children.
In working with young children, we must realize that it is very hard for them to share. We have to guide them by being a good role model on sharing. As you sit down, play and interact with your child, role play with them situations of sharing. Praise and encourage your child when they share.
All children are born unique and special; some children will share without being asked or taught this. But for most children, sharing is very hard. Much of a very young child’s identity is locked into what they have such as a teddy bear or doll. Looking at developmental stages of children, toddlers, twos and threes think more of their needs, whereas children at age 4 begin to really understand what it means to share. Children who are 6, 7 and 8 learn the importance of sharing and cooperating with other children.
As a teacher of young children, I’d like to share some methods I’ve used and learned from the classroom as well as from other teachers and resources:

  1. There are so many good books about sharing. Our local librarians would be glad to help you find books, videos or DVDS on sharing.
  2. Demonstrate sharing and generosity by example. Take the time to let your young child share. It may be cutting in half a piece of fruit with your young child. Tell your child they are a star if they share it with you.
  3. With your preschooler, point out and discuss other people’s needs such as mom, dad, siblings and people in the neighborhood. In making gifts for parents with young children a child might say their favorite color is a certain one. Ask them what their parents’ favorite color is in making their parents a gift. The same can go for food – they may say I like cheese pizza, but ask them to think what mom or dad may like, such as pepperoni pizza, in which they would need to learn to share other people’s favorites.
  4. Praise children when they share with other people in the family. Hug, verbally encourage and let them know that you are happy when they share. According to their age, if older children still haven’t learned to share as they should, such as keeping all the toys to themselves, it is important that the parents show they disapprove of selfishness. Don’t be too harsh, but positively start guiding your young child in steps of sharing.
  5. In working with your child in sharing their toys with friends, consider separating their toys. In teaching them to share step-by-step, your child may have some of their favorite toys you might consider putting up in order to avoid arguments. Ask your child to decide upon toys they would like to share in playing together.
  6. It’s neat to sit back and watch little ones learn to share between each other. Children can learn from their peers on how to share. They learn the key word
    “compromise.”
  7. Children can also have the character traits of love, kindness and patience which young children express in many ways as they interact with each other.
    A craft lesson I love to do with children is to make helping hands. These helping hands can be pulled like coupons to help you on a busy day. And it teaches your child responsibility, as well as sharing and caring.
    It’s so wonderful to step back and watch your young child share on his own. Parents, you are very special to take extra time to teach your child to share. When we share, it shows we care.

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