When we were little, we probably did not like to share our toys. We might not have even understood what sharing meant. As a child, we knew that our toys were ours and we didn’t want anyone else to play with them. Why should we? They were ours after all! However, as we got older, we learned more about kindness and being good to people around us. Terms like “Sharing is Caring” were introduced to us as our first life lessons.This is what sharing is all about. Sharing is when you have something that someone else needs or wants and you offer to let them use yours…
Social interaction amongst humans involves two parties who want to maximize their own outcomes while reaching a mutually satisfactory result. Sharing is a positive human trait that is as vital as eating and sleeping. Interestingly, kids also need to learn that sharing is a voluntary action. It is not a necessity or requirement. It is a wonderful thing to do and it makes the world a beautiful place. Sharing is an essential part of being a positive, contributing member of society.
We often see preschoolers struggle to control selfish impulses, even when they know that this behavior is not acceptable. This is when, as parents and teachers, we need to educate them about the importance of sharing.
For a Pre-schooler to consider the preferences of his/her peers has a lot to do with the maturation of a brain region involved in self-control. Usually, over the course of one’s childhood, their behavior shifts from being self-centered to considering the benefits of others.
Thus, we are sharing some educational strategies that aim at promoting social behavior in the preschool as well as at home:
- Act as a role model:
The best way to teach your kids to share is to act as a role model. Instead of preaching, practice “Sharing is caring”. Kids pay close attention to what adults do. I am sure we have experienced that quite often with our children! So, when our children observe us in the act of sharing, chances are, they would follow and learn. Take advantage of their curiosity. For instance – If you’re eating a sandwich, ask them if they would like a piece of it as well. You can also make a point to show the child how you, as teachers share with one another. The key is to lead by example. Show them in subtle ways that sharing brings nothing but joy and happiness.
2. Appreciate when they share:
When a child chooses to share with someone, remember to compliment them. Regardless of whether they did it of their own free will or because you urged them to. Honestly, it does not make a difference at this stage. Let them know how pleased you are to see them being so kind to a friend or sibling. Emphasize the fact that their actions have made another child happy too. Praise the positive things they do and gradually, it becomes a way of life for them.
3. Take advantage of special occasions:
Festivals are the perfect time to talk to your children about sharing with others less fortunate. Be it Christmas/ Diwali/ Ramzan or any festival, we should involve children to participate in programs such as toy collection where a child can donate some of her own toys or clothes that are no longer in use. Or, we can bring our children to the store and have them pick out a few new toys that will be donated to charity. Giving to charity can begin right at her Preschool or at home.
4. Encourage sharing at school:
Kids spend a significant amount of time in school, around their friends. It is critical for them to engage with other children in order to improve their social skills. A lot of times, it becomes their first experience of sharing their meals, books, and other belongings. When kids come back from school, they tend to share their knowledge with their parents. It is important to encourage them to do so. It takes some work but with the right attitude, it can be fun.
5. Peer Influence:
Simply being in a preschool setting with other young children and interacting during play can be a lesson in sharing. Studies show that kids share more when they are part of a group than when they are alone. So, if a child is used to being around other children his age as early on as possible, it is to their advantage. Having a regular set of friends to play with over the years will encourage trust among friends. As the child develops that sense of trust, he will be more likely to share with others. Remember, Practice Makes Perfect.
Above all, we as educators and parents of a Pre-schooler need to be patient. We must not quit trying to help our child become compassionate, understanding, and sensitive to the feelings of others.