Caring And Sharing Is More About Showing, Than Telling

PARENTING | | February 10, 2009 at 5:31 am


If you are an old hat (or a smarter new hat) at parenting you realize that telling your kid, until you are blue in the face, about sharing that toy just does not sink in. Of course that will not stop us from saying it, or getting frustrated when it is obviously ignored. Yes there are hundreds of classes that will allow your child to “mingle” with other children and hopefully pick us these traits, but you need not have to fork out the big bucks to get these lessons learned.

I know friends who have put their children in “schools” by the age of 1 since they “had to” get used to play with other children, and I have seen these kids still grapple with a ring-a-rosie game. Ensuring a somewhat influx of children into your lives by smaller (larger playdates or events are overwhelming for kids) group settings will give practice to these traits. Also trying to ensure a somewhat mixed up age helps. Children feel proud around smaller kids to see how many skills they have mastered and try to emulate older kids to master what they already can do.

Constant positive praise for when any child in the group does something correctly will make other children copy that behavior. Children eat up (even if they pretend they don’t care) praise, so be gracious but fair in dishing it out. I have noticed that my child has learned more from watching kids than from me bellowing out the rules. If course this also means watching the company your child keeps. In my case (and I am sure for others too) I have also seen the sibling effect. Apart from being forced to share everything (with the most difficult being sharing mama and papa) with a little sister, my elder daughter has caved in and realized sharing in inevitable. Caring was the surprise trait for me, but a wonderful one too.

This is also true not just for learning from other children’s behavior but our own too. Children are sponges and pick up the way we respect our friends and spouses. So be good if you want her to (note to self, I need to work harder on this). Children learn by example. It really is that simple.

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