It is very important to teach a child about sharing. However, sharing showed by a child is their own willing or by force?
Another common scenario is when two siblings is playing. Big sister is playing with a toy. Then, little sister also wanted to play with the same toy. Little sister might go over and said “I also want to play”. Or little sister might snatch the toy over. Usually, big sister will respond by saying “NO, this is mine. Why you take mine? Go away.” And big sister will tell mommy that “Mommy, little sister snatch my toy again”. Little sister will cry and tell mommy that “She didn’t want to give to me”.
Most of the time, mommy will look at big sister and said:-
- Little sister is not intentionally. Why must you act like that?
- You have so many toys. Why don’t you share it with your sister?
- You have played this for a long time. Why don’t you let your little sister play for a while.
Do you think the children will be at peace now? Nope. It is because the way you handle this situation is wrong. The way you teach sharing is not correct, so the children are not willing to share. At last, the situation will become worse. And you might say “Alright, nobody wants to share. Then, don’t play. I will take away the toy”. You thought that you are teaching about sharing but the children will feel not fair.
Big sister might think like this:-
- She is playing happily. Why mommy take it away? Mommy asked me to share but mommy take away/ snatch my toy away.
- I called mommy so that she can handle little sister snatching my toy bad behaviour. However, mommy help little sister by persuading me to share with sister.
- Mommy feels that I played for a long time or many toys. But, I feel that I didn’t. I am playing so happily but little sister caused my toys to be taken away. I hate little sister.
Little sister might think like this-
- I just feel that other’s people toy is interesting.
- I just cry and someone will ask big sister to share with me. (She learn the wrong way to ask for sharing)
- I just wanted to play. Why at last no toy? I also don’t know what to do. So, I can only choose to cry.
We should teach children to share from their heart. Don’t force them to share.
The first step to to prevent saying unfair statement such as:-
- You should share with her. You have nothing to lose.
- You are so selfish. Who will play with you?
- This toy belongs to everyone. So, you must share!
If this is the way you teach to share, the children will become more emotional because this is not the correct way. It will only makes the children not willing to share even more. Or hate the word sharing.
2nd step is to teach little sister to about waiting for your turn. You may tell little sister that :-
- “I know you wanted the toy very much”. We help her to express her feeling.
- “You will get the toy. However, you use the wrong way”. You should go and ask big sister “How long do you want to play only it’s my turn to play?”
What big sister hear is “not must give you” but “when is my turn?. Big sister will be more willing to share. Little sister have a bigger chance to succeed.
If you teach share this way, both children will learn about waiting and take turn. In the end, the children will most probably share. We should teach about taking turns and not sharing.
3rd step is parents should not decide who is right and who is wrong when children are quarrelling. And don’t take away the toy. If you do, you are not teaching about sharing but depriving of their needs. The children are just requesting their needs/right in their position. They don’t have the social skills yet. Children need empathy from adults and adults should use empathy to communicate and teach children. Then, they will about learn sharing.
I like this Sharing song from ABC Kids TV. I opened this video whenever my kids quarrel and fight over a toy/ food. If they want to play/ eat/ take something, always ask for permission instead of take it by force.
I also like this Sharing is Caring song from Little Angel. Because it teach me that as a parent, I should not force a child to share when they are not willing to. We should guide them so they are willing to share.