Importance of Sharing in Early Childhood: Because Sharing is Caring
The idea of sharing is among the most important things we, as parents, should imbibe amongst our children. Some call it good karma, others call it morals, and others still call it plainly as being a normal human being. It is our responsibility to teach them this good trait as early as possible.
Babies Toddlers & Sharing
For babies and toddlers, the idea of constantly hearing the word “share” will leave a mark in their cognitive development. Saying the word is not enough, it should be supported by actions that they will easily associate as they grow up. Of course, we don’t expect very young children to immediately understand what we want them to know and do in the same level we conceive it.
So how do we do it? We lead by example.
Trying it out
Let’s say you’re holding the last cookie and while your selfless parenting voice tells you to just give the whole piece to your child, you can exhibit an example of halfsies.
Sit close to your child and show them the cookie. Instead of just handing it over, say, “I know you want this cookie, but I want it too. Let’s share it.” Split it and enjoy that simple moment.
Now, for you to see if the concept has been grasped, you will have to find an opportunity wherein your child should decide to share. During snack time, ask your child for a piece or a bite of whatever it is he or she is having. Remember not to force it in or just reach for what your child is eating. Let them make it a personal decision to hand it over. And when they do, say thank you.
Should you manage to have this going at an early age, you wouldn’t have a problem emphasizing the importance to your child during school age. On the other hand, if your child experiences a bit of a challenge sharing with friends or at school, the approach may need to be slightly different.
Never make the child feel bad
It is important to note that you should never—under any circumstance—make the child feel bad about themselves by telling them they are selfish. Remember that the ultimate goal here is to help them understand and voluntarily share without being told.
It might feel frustrating during the first few times, but as they learn to value the concept and embrace it slowly, you will see the generosity they’ll learn to develop.
One of the easiest ways is by emphasizing the golden rule. Tell them to extend the courtesy to others what they would want to be granted to them when their time of need comes.
The concept of sharing not only allows us parents and caregivers the opportunity to impart a simple lesson, it also gives us the edge to imbibe a sense of charity, compassion, generosity, and humanity to our children.
These simple lessons will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and it is our hope that they will cherish it and impart it with others and the future generation.