D2 is rapidly approaching two years old and is learning all about sharing. I know that I am not the only mother to notice that in the ego-centric toddler universe, sharing is anathema. While we were in California D2 and I went to a story time at the local library. After the program the tots dispersed to the play area. D2 saw a truck that he liked and went over to the child who was playing with it and snatched it out of his hands. I gently redirected him to another toy only to watch another toddler snatch that toy out of D2’s hands! The tot’s mother ran up to her son an scolded him for snatching the toy away and we all commiserated about the challenges of teaching our LO’s to share.
Sharing and the concept of generosity is an important developmental step for children and it got me thinking; I’ve encountered plenty of adults who never quite got the hang of sharing.
For instance, have you ever had a work colleague who was an information hoarder? You know these are the people for whom information is political currency and they thrive on keeping important bits of information to themselves that might be useful to others? What about the friend who bends your ear off all the time with her problems but rarely stops to ask how you are doing?
We all have our selfish moments but part of being in the grown up world is learning to share — our time, our gifts and talents or sometimes just a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes it means helping someone else and expecting nothing in return. How do you teach your children about sharing and generosity?
I teach through service. I have always thought that teaching
Your child to help also serves as a tool to share.
I like this idea because it means modeling for your child what you would like to see them do. I am so aware of how much D2 watches and imitates what we are doing these days. What better way to teach him service than by showing him how we do it in very simple ways.
Violet just turned 8 months and we have not reached the ‘sharing’ milestone yet. Thinking forward I think I will introduce the concept through food. My husband and I love to share restaurant meals.
Leena – I love that idea. It’s a very simple concept that is easy for little ones to grasp. D2 just started sharing his food a few months ago. He loves goldfish crackers and he’ll insist on putting one in your mouth and then one in his. It’s the most heart warming gesture!
I think giving children the opportunity to give is important and as a parent need to be observant for those opportuities. I have noticed parents often acting as if children can only recieve. As Cynthia said, helping is a great way to have children share and I liked Leena’s suggestion of begining with the food on our plates. I think the key is to keep alert for teaching opportunities that will make sharing a natural element in our childrens character.
Nelson – that is such an astute observation. We really don’t give our children enough credit. You are so right. They can give, whether it’s sharing food or a toy. You are so right that there are so many teaching opportunities that are right in front of us if we just look and take advantage of them.