Sharing is not an innate skill children are born with. They are not born and immediately know how to share with others and be selfless. Unfortunately, at our core, humans are selfish. When we see something we want or need, our first instinct is to take it for ourselves. The idea of sharing with others is only learned and strengthened when we practice it. For young children, sharing can be difficult because they do not yet know what it means to give up what they like, such as candy or toys. Children must develop this very important skill while they are young and they can only learn the importance of sharing if they are exposed to it throughout their lives. Parents must instill in their children the importance of selflessness and the idea of sharing, in order to raise a caring child.
The word “mine”
Sometimes even before ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ some children learn the word ‘mine’. This is a dangerous word because it is the first indication that your child is learning selfishness. The key to sharing is the idea of selflessness, or putting others ahead of yourself. This is an incredibly difficult skill to teach and most people never truly learn or understand it. It is good, in some respects, that children form strong attachments to items or people that would make them claim it as their property. When a child can form attachments, it is the sign of healthy development and emotional stability. However, when a child becomes too attached over too many things, this is the universal sign that the child is growing to be more selfish. When children are born into multiple sibling households, sharing becomes an everyday occurrence — whether they like it or not. In single child households, sharing becomes more difficult, as the child doesn’t have the need to share with other children. When a single child interacts with other children, that is when you will be able to see if they need to be taught sharing skills. One way to ensure a single child learns sharing is through you, the parent, teaching and encouraging them the necessary skills at home. You can also bring your child to public playgrounds where many children play and interact with each other.
Don’t force sharing
Sharing is a sign of empathy, however, empathy does not develop in a child until later in their development. You cannot expect a child younger than 3 to know and understand what sharing is, as their brains have not yet developed that stage of awareness. In fact, most children under the age of two never actually play with anyone. Mostly, they play alongside someone, attending to their own needs for play and not sharing the experience. Because young children don’t understand sharing, it is not fair for a parent to enforce the idea of it. If sharing is pushed on a child too early, with instances of punishment if they don’t do it, children can grow a disdain for sharing. By associating punishment if they don’t share, children will be less inclined to share with other children and even their parents!
Overbearing parenting is the first way to ruin your child’s desire to share. Children, when they reach the ages of four or five, will start to develop independence and a willingness to share. At this time, if you are overly involved in their sharing development, they might think that a parent must be present for them to share. In this way, they will grow dependent on your approval of when to share and with whom to share.
As a parent, you are responsible to step in whenever the sharing becomes hostile. For example, if two children want to use the same toy and they both are tugging on the item, it can cause a tear, in which case both parties will be upset. You also want to intervene if an altercation occurs such as crying, shouting, or hitting. Hitting is never an ok reaction and needs to be disciplined immediately. When children learn to hit to get their way, they can cause harm to others and may create a hard habit to break in the future.
For the most part, sharing is a skill that your child should learn on their own. Part of problem-solving is being able to handle a situation without any help. When your child is learning to share, it is wise to be a bystander to their process, instead of an enforcer.
It is important that you encourage sharing throughout your child’s life. When they are encouraged to share, they are given a positive feeling towards sharing. When they are more positively inclined to share, they will be more likely to do it in their lives.
It is important when teaching your child to share that you perform as their role model. You must show them how to share and implement the steps of sharing in a way they would understand, such as sharing food or candy.
It is important that you encourage your child to play games with you, as well as other children. When you play games with your child you can encourage sharing and grow more connected with your child. When you create a strong bond with your child, they will grow to trust and respect your judgement. When they do this, they will be more inclined to listen to you and follow your guidance.
Playing games naturally calls for sharing, whether is it with toys or number of turns. When you take your child to a playground, you will be able to show and witness your child play and interact with others. Playgrounds, such as indoor trampoline parks, are the perfect place to take your child. Trampolines require both individual play and group play. Group play normally occurs when your child is playing a game such as trampoline basketball, which demands sharing the basketball. When you take your child to playgrounds, such as your local Rebounderz, you will be able to see first-hand how your child reacts to moments of sharing. It also is a great place to teach your child sharing, especially if they have not fully developed the skill.
Sharing is an extremely important skill to learn and practice. One way to help your child develop these skills of sharing is by implementing it at a public playground. There, you can be the bystander and the fellow playmate! By taking your child to Rebounderz, they can learn important skills and have fun at the same time! Visit your local Apopka, Florida, Rebounderz today!