You Are Suppose to Share!

The following conversation recently took place between two four year old little boys: 
Boy #1-  You are suppose to share.
Boy #2-  I know.
Boy #1-  Well, you're not!

Ahh. Sharing. Now that's an interesting concept in the world of young children. 

What exactly is sharing? According to one definition, sharing is agreeably giving one's possessions to others. Sharing is also defined and viewed as a pro-social behavior. It is intended to benefit other people and society as a whole.

For grown-ups this is not such a hard thing to do. We share our time, energy, and finances, among other things, with our family members and friends. For young children, "sharing" is not viewed in the same enlightened manner. This is sometimes hard for teachers and parents of young children to understand and come to terms with. 

In an article written for Early Childhood News, Sue Grossman, an assistant professor of early childhood education at Eastern Michigan University, talks about young children and sharing. "Refusing to share is often treated as a crime in the eyes of the adult. Demanding that they share ignores their feelings and does not truly teach them to share." 

If someone points out to me that their  9 month old offers them a soggy cheerio or maimed cracker and they say "isn't that great she knows how to share?", I say, wait a year and that same "giving" child will become a screaming banshee when asked to "share" their, insert the name of any object here, with their friend.

But, take heart, because by age 3, most children will begin to understand turn taking and from there, the concept of "sharing" also begins to take shape. 

So, what can an adult, parent or teacher, do to help children learn about "sharing?"

As you know by now, my number one piece of advice is always, 
don't panic! Just like all other aspects of development, concepts such as taking turns, sharing and expressing empathy for others take time to develop. Children have to have time to grow and learn.

Next, remember that children learn from watching and listening to adults.  They do as you do. Be aware of your interactions with your parenting partner or your co-worker. Are you setting an example of cooperation and helpfulness?

And probably most importantly, encourage but don't force!
Making a child give another child their place at the water table or forcing them to give another child a toy, can result in unnecessary confusion, frustration and tears for everyone involved.  It also teaches them that maybe the very grown-up that they have come to know and love and view as their protector may not be that person after all.

The following books deal with sharing, giving, and cooperating.
Cuddle up with a little one and enjoy!

Rainbow Fish
Marcus Pfister

The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein

Llama Llama time to share
Anna Dewdney

The Mine-O-Saur
Sudipta Bardham-Quallen

Should I Share My Ice Cream?
Mo Willems

That's it for now.
Check back later!


Popular posts from this blog

Covid, Covid Go Away! Little Ones Want to Play!

New Year--New Word--Maddietude.

One Word For a New Year