The art of sharing.
My wife and I attended our two-year-old's first preschool parent-teacher meeting today. (You may remember my thoughts on whether preschool will make my kid a success from earlier this year.) One of her teachers made what was, for me, a really fascinating comment.
Lilia is, they said, a little too good at sharing. They'll often witness her playing with something, only to have it taken out of her hands by another child without her raising an objection.
As someone who has very recently welcomed a second small human into the family, and who has fretted over how Big Sister would take to the new arrival, I confess that I was secretly pleased. It's a nice problem to have. Given the conflicts over toys that are in our near future, it's nice to know that Lilia is prepared to let others have their turn.
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But, her teachers told us, they'd be OK with her staking a claim from time-to-time. After all, sharing is a two-way process, and kids need to learn not just to give, or to take, but to negotiate. They need to be able to speak up when they feel they have a rightful claim to something, and they also need to listen when others do the same.
But how do we make that happen?
Google "is your child too good at sharing", and you won't find much. Most folks seem more worried, understandably, about not sharing enough. But it seems to me that if the process of sharing is a two-way-street, then many of the solutions are going to be the same whether your child holds on to his Buzz Lightyear figure for dear life, or couldn't give a hoot if it is snatched from his grasp.
The Baby Center has a good article on teaching toddlers to share. From modeling sharing behavior yourself, through praising children when they do share (or, in this case, perhaps reinforcing their efforts to assert their "property rights" too), to making sure that kids have some posessions that are just theirs and not for sharing - there are plenty of strategies to try. But ultimately it probably comes down, as is so often the case, to understanding your child's needs and their reasons for doing things, and then learning to work with them and help them grow.
Anyone else had experience of kids being too good at sharing? I'd love to hear how you dealt with it.
This post was written by Sami Grover.
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