What does sharing have to do with raising happy, balanced kids? This was the question I set out to discover after having the pleasure of reading another meaningful book by Benedict Coulter. This is the fourth book of his that I have reviewed. Check out his other fabulous children’s books about happiness that your children will love: It’s Alright To Be Different, It’s Alright To Be Scared, It’s Alright To Look Different.
There Is Nothing Like Sharing! is about a little boy named Jack who learns the benefits of sharing with others. He is excited about his brand new red firetruck but is a bit too territorial over it. He visits a playground where many kids play together and are enjoying themselves. He took out his firetruck and started to play with it, but when another boy came over and reached out to touch it, Jack got upset and grabbed his toy very close to his chest. He then shouted, “That truck is mine!”
That was certainly not a good way to make a new friend. Jack soon realized that treating others that way left him alone and bored. He watched other kids playing with toys together and noticed what a blast they were having. Although he was nervous at first, he went over to the group of children and joined in the fun, which included him letting others have some time with his special toy. That day he learned the benefits of sharing–he felt happier, he made new friends, and he was able to try out their toys as well.
What Sharing Has To Do With Happiness
Scientists have found that the key to happiness is social interaction. According to a major study from Harvard that tracked people’s lives for 80 years, there is a strong correlation between individuals’ level of happiness and their relationships with family, friends, and community.
In addition, Mental Health America notes that good friends are critical for helping children develop self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a healthy emotional outlook. Learning how to share at a young age is an extremely important building block in developing and retaining such healthy, meaningful friendships throughout one’s life. It helps children deal with conflict and adversity, and figure out creative solutions to problems they face like how to compromise and take turns. Therefore, teaching our children how to “play well in the sandbox” will help them develop positive relationships in their life–which they need to be happy in this world.
Tips For Teaching Kids How To Share
Sharing is agreeably giving one’s possessions to others. When children are forced to give up a possession, however, it is not true sharing. Demanding that children share ignores their feelings and does not truly teach them how to share. Instead, they will probably feel angry at whoever made them give up something unwillingly. According to Dr. Sears, true sharing involves empathy, or the ability to see things from another person’s perspective.
Most children are unable to fully grasp empathy until age six, but children can learn about sharing before then. By age three, many children are beginning to understand how to take turns and share their toys. Before then, kids play mostly in a parallel way, which entails playing alongside other children–not with them. As children begin to play with each other and cooperate in their play, they learn the importance of sharing. By the time children attend school, they have many more opportunities to practice sharing with their peers.
We can help our children learn to be better sharers by doing the following:
- Be a positive role model. Our children look up to us for guidance. Show your children how to share by modeling good sharing and turn-taking in your family. For example, talk to your children about how you let your friend borrow your kitchen gadget that they needed for a special baking project and offer to share your meal with your husband when out at a family dinner.
- Praise positive behavior. It is important that we praise our children when they share or take turns so that they realize it is something they should keep doing in the future.
- Play games. Teaching our kids how to share can be a ton of fun. Play games with them that require players to take turns. When they are young, talk to them about how sharing works, such as “It’s my turn now, and then it will be your turn next.” Board games and sports like kicking a soccer ball around or shooting hoops are the perfect ways to add some sharing to your day.
- Set up playdates. The more exposure that our kids have with other children, the more chance they will get to practice sharing. Enroll your children in a variety of activities so they can interact with their peers, whether it be school, camp, sports, dance, art, etc. Be sure to invite friends over and set up playdates at a fun place like a playground, museum, or community garden. On the way to a playdate or activity, remind your children about the importance of sharing with their friends.
- Participate in community service projects. By participating in experiences that involve giving to others, we send our children a message that sharing is a positive thing to do. Some great project ideas include gathering clothing and toys that our kids have outgrown to donate to an organization that supports those less fortunate, baking something sweet and delicious for your local police or fire department, or creating caring cards to hand out to a local group of elderly neighbors. Learn how to choose the best volunteer activities for your family.
More Amazing Tools From Baby’s Brilliant
Mom and dad team Ulli and Benedict Coulter developed Baby’s Brilliant—interactive read-along books, apps, and print books for young children to enjoy. Seeking quality entertainment for their own three children, they decided to create tools that are safe, practical, fun, and filled with valuable life lessons.
Baby’s Brilliant has an app designed to soothe and engage babies and toddlers with musical and educational videos. It provides a fun and friendly learning environment, where your little ones can safely explore. The app contains several different types of tools to explore:
The read-along books provide a traditional reading option for families to help increase children’s comprehension. There are no electronic distractions like animation or sound effects. The books are simply read the old fashioned way by a narrator with a soothing voice who is also a mother of two. The recordings are lightly orchestrated and presented at a comfortable pace for children to enjoy. Read-along books are a great way for babies and toddlers to get engaged in reading and for older children to start to learn how to read by following along with the narrator.
Videos include beautiful images and scenery from around the world and are accompanied by classical music in the background. Babies and toddlers are introduced to language in a fun and meaningful way. You can select the movies you want your child to watch and arrange the order of play.
The music section includes lullabies, inspirational music, popular children’s songs, and classical music from composers like Mozart and Bach.
Night Lights offers a gentle combination of music and visuals that help your child fall asleep quickly. You can customize the order of play, create your own playlist, and loop it for up to 90 minutes.
How To Download The App
All Baby’s Brilliant materials can be downloaded to iPads and iPhones using the specially designed Baby’s Brilliant app. The app is free and each download is only 99 cents.
*This post was sponsored by Baby’s Brilliant.
How do you teach your children how to share?