Mine! Mine! Mine!
Around about the time our kids start learning about possession, they start to become… well… a little bit possessive. We all know the incessant chime of ‘Mine! Mine! Mine!’ if they haven't yet learnt the delicate art of sharing.
Learning to share can be a tricky time to navigate. Kids can become surprisingly snappy when learning that they can’t always get what they want, or that they may be expected to share something that is technically theirs.
To help parents navigate this testing time, we’ve done some research to bring you… the rules of sharing. As well as some fun activities your little ones can do together, to practice their sharing skills.
The rules of sharing
As easy as one, two, three, we give you our simple rules for sharing.
1. Ask nicely please, if you wanna use these!
Teaching children to ask nicely if they would like to use something someone else is using (even if it is theirs) could be the first step in eliminating that delightful chorus of ‘Mine! Mine! Mine’s!’ that comes out at play dates or days at kindy.
2. May I use that too, when you’re through?
But perhaps their biggest problem isn’t asking nicely, it’s the dreaded tantrum that follows after they’re denied the thing they want. For this, we call on rule number two, the rejection rule. Teaching kids to ask “may I please use that when you’re done”, inadvertently teaches them they must wait till the other person is finished with what they want before they can use it. Knowing and declaring that they will eventually have the thing they want (or that is indeed theirs) will hopefully relieve some of their stress about lending it to their friend for a little while. Tantys be gone!
3. Working together, is a pleasure!
Doing fun activities that require a team effort, with varying and limited equipment, to achieve a common goal, is the greatest way to teach cooperation, team work and sharing in practice. And we’ve got some ideas of activities you can do next, to make it fun for your little ones!
Activities that make sharing fun
Cooking enables kids to work together, doing different jobs, with different equipment from one another. Kids get to practice focusing on doing the job they are assigned, or waiting patiently, taking turns at doing each different job. Everyone must work together and cooperate to make sure they end up with something yummy to eat.
Getting kids planting is a great way to learn about the circle of life but also how to share and work towards a common good. Kids (if planting in teams), will often require the same equipment as their friends do and thus will have an opportunity to practice the rules of sharing that arise. What’s more, one child’s planting efforts alone might not yield enough for the entire group to enjoy but a group's mass produce can be a marvellous spectacle, or turned into something yummy for everyone (e.g. strawberries into jam).
We hope with these rules of sharing and a bit of practice during some fun group activities, your kids become expert sharers before you can even say the word ‘mine!’