I think everyone can benefit from a reminder about the enjoyment we get from sharing sometimes. After all I know how even I experience a little hesitation sharing my favorite snack if there are only a few bites left (mmmm strawberries)… how much harder might it be for my two year old to share the trucks he’s playing with! The more we learn about sharing however the more we realize that it is a beautiful part of connecting with others and the more we practice, the better we get.
I have found it can be very encouraging to children to think about what they do share, instead of just telling them to “share” when they are not. This activity helps children see how much they are already sharing and can also give you gentle way to talk to them about other things they may like to practice sharing a bit more.
I started off the activity by explaining the phrase “sharing is caring” as I slowly wrote it on the piece of paper: discussing how when we share we show others we care about them, when we need something we appreciate it when others share, and how nice it feels to both give and receive. (Note: I notice my kids listen much better when we are actively engaged in something – ie setting an activity up – versus if I’m just “lecturing” them.)
Then I said we were going to play Pictionary with things we share in our family: the artist would choose an item that we have seen shared and draw it while the other people guess (and we would take turns being artist). I originally took out this activity thinking my 4-year-old would like to draw along (he usually loves Pictionary games!), however he wanted me to draw this time and I’m cool with that. In our family we do art for the experience and not for a specific outcome. (He enjoyed drawing his own picture afterward.)
For example, I drew some blocks and then the kids guessed what I was drawing… then we briefly talked about times we could share the item, gave a specific example of when we saw something sharing it (if we could remember one) and mentioned how the other person felt when we shared, etc.
The kids also requested I draw a few extra things they thought of themselves… including nuts (current favorite snack) and a cat (we don’t have one, and I couldn’t quite figure out where that came from but we talked about sharing cats anyway).
Like I said I ended up doing the bulk of the drawing but my two year old also enjoyed scribbling over the items and repeating some of the words we had been using which was pretty cute I must say. Later that day it was neat to see him explain to daddy what we had been talking about by pointing out all the items – I was impressed by how much he got out of the activity!
This activity was simple and fun… but really got the point across that sharing is a positive thing (and not just something mommy is constantly ordering for no reason). An added benefit is that we now have a nice poster to hang up to remind us about caring for others by sharing!
Do you find yourself requesting the kids to “share” often? How do you make sharing a positive experience?
Feel free to share your experiences after using this idea or tell us about any variations you came up with. Links to related activities or to a post linking here, are most welcome also.
Thanks for your feedback – I appreciate all your comments!