Picture this. It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon and you and your children are huddled together in the playroom. Your little girls are playing peacefully by themselves, pretending to be fairies of a magical forest. They even have their favorite flower hair accessories
on to complete the look. Then one of your little girls decides that she fancies her sister's hair clip. It's all well and good, when suddenly: 'NO! That's mine, mine, mine!!!' Playtime over.
For most children, sharing is a difficult concept to understand. Although they may be developmentally capable of sharing, sometimes they have a hard time doing it. In their young years, children are just beginning to learn that there are more important things than always getting what they want. You may have to continue being a referee to playroom tussles, but what's amazing about children is that they are like sponges, and are ever-ready to absorb new lessons and skills. So don't worry, there is an end to the hair clip feud.
How do you teach your little ones how to share? Here are a few tips:
Be a role model. Children are very impressionable. Preaching the importance of sharing if they see you being stingy towards others will not work. Be on the look-out for opportunities to reiterate or model the value of sharing in your home. If you're eating a sandwich, invite your child to share half of it with you. Simple as it may seem, this is a great opportunity for you to teach her the benefits of sharing with her siblings and friends. Pretty soon, you just might see her gladly sharing her hair accessories collection with her little sister.
Practice taking turns. Another valuable lesson that you can teach your children is how to take turns. This goes hand-in-hand with sharing. You can do this by playing simple board games with them or giving them just one arts and crafts set so they can share and work together. This way, they are having fun as you teach them important values. There are plenty of opportunities, even in the simplest things! If they are constantly fighting over that one flower hair clip, tell them they can take turns in using it. Big sister's turn today, then little sister's turn tomorrow.
Tell a story. Tania Cowling, preschool teacher and children's book author says, 'Books are great tools to teach behavior. Children will often pay more attention to storybook characters teaching moral lessons than they will their teachers or parents because they can identify with the characters.'
Don't jump in too soon. Sometimes, the most effective way of driving home a point is when you're right in the middle of a dilemma. When your children are involved in their usual tug-of-war, don't jump in too soon to remedy the situation. With all the patience that you can muster, try working with your children to help them resolve the issue. You can ask them, 'I noticed that your little sister chose that headband
first. What do you think you should do?' Try hard to resist the inevitable 'But Moooooom...' protests.
They don't have to share everything. As with adults, children also have the right to have things that are off-limits to others. So avoid pressuring them into sharing all of their belongings. If they're inviting friends over, allow them to put away any toys that they're not willing to share.
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