The next few posts will discuss some social and emotional skills for kids. Knowing research is finding these contribute to children’s success is exciting. As parents and caregivers, we don’t have to be rocket scientists to raise smart and capable kids. We can relax and play, plus play is how kids learn best.
The easiest and earliest social skill is probably using magic words. Even before kids talk, they can sign please (circle with flat hand on chest) and thank you (fingers tap chin and gesture towards other person). Once children are a little older, they can add some magic behaviors like taking turns, sharing, waiting, and empathy.
Sharing is a challenging skill and is very frequently required. Kids do not always want to share. We can give them the words, “I’m not done yet. Please wait.” This helps both the one with and the one without feel empowered and doesn’t mean either one has to give in to the other.
Some things are okay to share and some not. Ice cream with the dog may not be the best idea. A really fun book to read to kids about sharing is the Elephant and Piggie story, Should I Share My Ice Cream? Written by Mo Willems, Elephant is having a very difficult time wanting to both share his ice cream and to eat it all up. What happens to his ice cream while he thinks of what to do?
Often, kids will have their own solutions. When the need to share comes up, we can acknowledge it, “Hmm, this could be a sharing problem. What can we do? Who has an idea?” Their suggestions might be quite different from ours and somewhat creative. Kids will experience sharing from both sides, that is being the one who has something to share, and the one who wants the other person to share. During play, they will try out some of these ideas.
What works for sharing for your child?