Learning to Share #SeptemBEARMonday, August 31, 2015
It seems like from the moment Ezra had a hint of what was going on around him, he had this desire to go and do and be with the big kids. By the time he could sit up in your lap, that's what he wanted to do. He wanted to watch. When he became mobile and even just sitting up on his own, that's what he wanted to do. Go.
|Jonah with Snuggle|
With that desire comes the desire to be, do and have all the things just like his big brother! This has led to us as parents having learn how to teach our big boy (who is only 3) to not only share but to respect little brother's things as well.
I don't necessarily believe that every kid should have to share every toy... always. I think there are times to say no, I don't want to share my ________. As an adult, I do politely offer my friends a piece of my cookie and guest in my house a glass of sweet tea, but I don't ask just ask someone if I can play a new game on their phone. I don't insist on them giving me a bite of their chocolate cake just because they are eating in my presence. So, at some point I learned the simple rules of politely sharing and knowing when I don't have to. For kids though, especially brothers, this is confusing.
So here a a few very simple basic rules we are trying to follow:
1. If you don't want to share it, don't show it off.
It's fine to have a special toy or item that's just for you. So, that toy is for play time when brother is not around, napping, or when you are playing alone or out-of-site. If you don't want to share it with cousins or friends do not take it with you to childcare, their home and put it up when company comes over.
Jonah is a bit of a hoarder, he likes to take multiple toys with him when he goes places, but number one over the past 3 years, is if you don't want to share it Benjamin, do not take it to NaNa's. Sometimes he says okay and picks another toy to take for Benjamin to play with, but I remind him that at some point during the day they will have to swap.
2. Ask for a turn, do not take away.
If someone is playing with a toy you want, you have to ask for a turn and they have to say yes you may have a turn when I am finished. Giving it to them right then is fine, but setting a timeline like 5 minutes is fine too.
This is a hard one for young children to grasp, but I have no problem setting the timer and reminding them when their 5 minute or however long timeline is up. This doesn't work yet for our boys because of Ezra's age, but I typically remind Jonah that if he hands it over, Ezra will put it down within 1-2 minutes anyway. This works sometimes, sometimes it doesn't.
3. Make a compromise.
If someone is having trouble taking turns, offer them a replacement toy.
If one child is playing with the green ball and another child really wants the green ball, go get the red ball and offer that child an exchange. This works really well with babies and sometimes young toddlers. It also works with older children who might want to swap toys that are a little more sophisticated.
4. Make someone else Happy!
This isn't really a sharing rule, but I like to point out how happy it makes Ezra when Jonah shares something with him. It's funny how Jonah is starting to show signs of empathy just from becoming a big brother. He LOVES to see Ezra laugh and smile. He makes funny noises and goofs just like we do to get a belly laugh. So, showing children that giving something to someone else can make us just as happy as getting it ourselves! I hope that is a quality we can continually instill in our children.
When we got some of these precious (and SOFT) snuggle bears on our front step, I couldn't wait to open! I had read about the #ShareABear movement created by Snuggle to show the world that something as small giving someone a teddy bear could brighten and turn around someone's day! Snuggle is donating 5,000 Teddy Bears for SeptemBEAR and National Teddy Bear day on September 9th, but since that can only go so far, snuggle is asking you to help spread the teddy bear magic by sharing teddy bear memories through photos, stories, and videos during the month of SeptemBEAR! Please visit here and find out more about Snuggle!
The entire day after getting our snuggle bears, the boys carried them around. It was funny to see the next day when Jonah got his to play with Ezra walked all the way across the house to get the other one so he could be just like brother!