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How to Teach Your Children to Share
As mothers we tend to make it a habit to tell our children to share. It’s a lesson we learned at an early age from our own mothers and they probably learned from their mothers. Sharing and the spirit of giving has been passed down from generation to generation and for very good reasons. While teaching sharing remains important, there are now more complicated issues to consider when discussing sharing with your children.
Sharing is Caring
The concept behind teaching children to share is extremely important. We all want our kids to be willing to share with others, to be generous, and to be willing to play with others. From getting along with siblings to learning how to get along in life, sharing is an important life lesson. The problem is there are limits to sharing your children should understand.
Sharing food is often a key part of socialising. Sadly, for many people sharing food is more of an issue. As society has become more aware about food allergies, we’ve begun recognising the risk children could face when sharing food. If your children have allergies, it is vital that they understand why they can’t freely accept offers of food from other people. This can be very difficult when cupcakes or other delightful treats are being offered.
Kids also need to know that if they offer food to other children, those children might not be able to accept. If your kids are tempted to offer foods to younger children, it is important that they check with those children’s parents, first, to make sure it’s ok. One way to help to prevent problems with sharing food is to make sure your children’s snacks and lunches are clearly marked with name labels. This can help prevent them from eating the wrong child’s food by mistake.
The disadvantage to sharing can be that germs are easy to share. Kids who are young enough to still put items or their fingers in their mouths are particularly at risk from picking up germs while sharing objects. Doctor’s offices and other public places are particularly likely to have items covered with harmful germs. This can make it important for your children to know that sharing their belongings with others or playing with things that belong to others may not always be a good idea.
We want our children to share with others but don’t let your children’s generosity be abused. Bullies can often use “sharing” as a pretence for taking items from other children. Let your children know that in cases like that, your children can decide whether or not to share. Kids who aren’t playing nicely or who aren’t treating items properly, can be turned down. If other children or adults are making your children feel uncomfortable or if they are trying to “borrow” their belongings to take home, saying “no” is a perfectly acceptable response. As much as we like to teach our kids to be generous, we also need to teach them to stand up for themselves and maintain their own boundaries.