Sunday, December 19, 2010

How do I get my children to share?

Ms. Dorothy,
What is your take on "sharing" both between sibling and in the classroom? I know that in the Montessori preschool a child has their work, and they can choose whether or not another is allowed to join them. Do you feel it is essential to teach your children to share when they have received a gift?
- New Teacher & Getting Married Soon

Keeping children from grabbing and fighting over things in a classroom is much easier when there are ground-rules like in the Montessori classroom. If it is well established that every child has the right to play with the materials they have chosen until they are through, there is no room for disagreement.

If you want your children to learn to share, the most important thing you can do is make sure they see you model it.
Telling children to share, and actively demonstrating what it is to be generous and thoughtful are very different. One results in internalized learning, the other doesn't.

When you receive a gift, invite them to help you open it, invite them to try it out. Don't worry about how long they have it or what they do with it. Thank them for giving it back to you when they do.

Remember that the less they have, the harder it is for them to trust their things in the hands of others. And the more they have seen at home that contradicts what you show them, the harder your task will be.

When you see them emulate your behavior, acknowledge their generosity and praise them for sharing, every time. For some, it will stick and grow.

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