Parenting Perspective: A lesson in sharing
March 31, 2010 (WPVI) -- Last week, we went on a family vacation to Walt Disney World.
After landing, as we walked through the Orlando Airport, a mother and her young boy, probably around six years old, approached us and asked us if we wanted his Mickey Mouse balloon. She explained that they were leaving and weren't allowed to take the balloon on the plane.
Luke and Emma were thrilled, but, with only ONE balloon, we had to enforce the sharing rule immediately.
With such a find, sharing didn't come easy. We used our usual tool: the stopwatch. Emma gets the balloon for 2 minutes, Luke for next 2, and so on. Finally, they realized the balloon was more fun when they tossed it back and forth and, hours later, they were sharing without supervision. But, it's often a battle to get to that point.
Child development experts say children typically begin learning about sharing when they are 18-24 months old. However, they usually don't become good sharers until they are four or five years old. So you can expect several years of struggling with the concept of sharing.
Like many parents, often I avoid the inevitable battle over toys, coloring books, etc. by buying two items that are EXACTLY the same. My husband chides me for taking the easy way out. And not everything has to be shared. It can be comforting for children to know some things, like their favorite doll or blanket, can be theirs alone. At the same time, experts say it helps to point out that other things, like the family jungle gym, is for everyone to use.
During our stay at Walt Disney World, Luke and Emma soon forgot about the balloon. It stayed in the corner of our room until we were walking back through the airport, towards out plane back to Philadelphia. That's when we found a young family just arriving for their vacation. Luke and Emma happily passed the balloon to these strangers and admitted: sometimes sharing can be fun.
cecily tynan parenting reports, parenting, cecily tynan
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