To Share or Not To Share

Today’s guest post is from A Mom with a Lesson Plan‘s Mommy Fun Fact Series about helping our kids to share.

sharingI started Mommy Fun Facts as a way to share parenting tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

One of my very favorite Mommy Fun Facts  is about sharing.

Mommy Fun Fact # 13 ~ Sharing

I took an early childhood development class years ago and one of the teachers gave a lecture I would never forget.  She put sharing into perspective for me and it has shaped the way I deal with it even now.

Kids are ALWAYS expected to share but think about it from an adult’s perspective.

Say you spend half an hour shopping.  Your cart is full of carefully picked items, you are about to start the second half of your list when a women walks up to you.  She smiles politely and says “You’ve had that long enough…it’s my turn now.”  As she strolls away with your cart another woman pats you on the shoulder.  “You are so good at sharing.”

Doesn’t that sound ridiculous?

Of course it does.

What we adults sometimes forget is that children’s play is like that.  We don’t know what they have in mind for a particular item, or how they are feeling about it at that moment.

Here are some tips I used in our preschool, and now use with my kids.

Sharing Tips:

  • Modeling behavior is a BIG ONE!  Share with your kids, or other adults.  (And really let your kids know when it is hard to share.  “I really want to eat this entire  sandwich, but I can see you would really like a bite.  I’ll share with you.”)
  • It’s okay to not want to share.  When you have a playdate scheduled, spend some time preparing.  Look around the room with your little one and decide which things should be put up for the play date.  “I know you have a special love for this car, would you like to put it up while your friends are here?  Or maybe you would be excited to see how John uses it!”
  • Point out how it feels to be shared with…”That was so nice of Nancy to let you use the shovel, even though she was using it.  How does that feel to you?  I wonder how it would feel to be the one sharing!”

Do you have a special trick to inspire sharing?

This post is a part of my  Mommy Fun Fact  Series

I am a stay at home mom who loves to learn…and teach. I started  amomwithalessonplan.com  to share some of the ideas that I really enjoy with my kids. I want Moms  [and Dads]  to know that adding a little learning to playtime is fun and easy.

12 Comments

  1. HappyCampers says:

    I SO agree! Before we have friends over, or if my son wants to take toys to the park, we always, always talk about what he is willing to share, and what he wants to put away. It is SO unfair that we expect our kids to share everything, all the time.

    The example my friend made years ago was…let’s say a good girlfriend walks up and wants to wear your wedding ring because she loves it and it looks so pretty! How woudl you feel sharing your special thing? Who’s to say our kids dont’ feel the exact same way about their Spiderman toy or their pony toy?

    We can’t expect our kids to do things we wouldn’t want to do ourselves…with the exception, maybe, of Calculus….

  2. Very well put. I think it’s easy for us parents to try and teach our kids how to share, but it doesn’t always make sense. Your perspective is very enlightening and will definitely have me thinking twice about sharing.

  3. I wish you have stuff for older children(5th grade) ;0)

  4. So true! We do the same things before play dates – it makes a world of difference!

  5. HappyCampers says:

    Hi Rhonda! If you’re looking for older children ideas on this site, check out the headings on the homepage…math & science especially…there are lots of great ideas there for that age! If you’re talking about this post itself…I think the same idea could go for kids (and adults!) of any age! Enjoy reading!

  6. I love this! Grown-ups are terrible about sharing (myself included!)

    We don’t force sharing, but if a toy is being fought over a lot the toy goes in time out.

  7. I think sharing is a strange concept to instill in our kids, a line has to be drawn to avoid confusion for example sharing another childs lunch is not always appropriate. Soon it appears like a god given right that all things must be shared- that if you don’t share it is wrong or the non-sharer is unkind. Taking turns feels like a better way of dealing with things that can be shared, and encouragement such as ‘when so and so has finished I am sure she would love to give you a turn on her toy’ if this doesn’t work then allowing a time frame is helpful, I.e you can play for 5 minutes and then let so and so have a turn. It is not realistic to imply that everything must be shared as already pointed out it is not how adult like is and by taking turns you can acknowledge the ownership, whist allowing each child to feel good about giving or receiving the turn 🙂

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