3 surefire ways to teach children to share
Children have an innate sense of fairness. They also often have an innate sense to look out for themselves. Both are survival instincts. The quality that will dominate in your household is the one you nurture.
TIP #1: Last Pick
Whenever there is a special treat to share in your home, like the last cupcake, let one child divide it into equal parts and the other child (children) choose their portions first. You’ll never see such perfectly fair portions in your life and your children will learn to take extra care to be fair when sharing.
TIP #2: If You Show It - You Share It
My children got so used to sharing that they'd save all their treats from school, then come home and dibby them out to all their siblings. It never dawned on them that you wouldn't share everything, and to this day, as adults, they still do. It's an awesome culture they've developed, but they first learned it from us. My husband would bring home a candy bar he'd receive at work from a secret Santa, and cut it 6 ways to share with everyone)... but we had one fail-safe that completely empowered them. If they chose not to share, that was okay. Somethings are special and you don't have to share special things, but they could not eat it in front of their siblings. They could keep their special things private and enjoy them, but if they brought out the stash and tried to indulge in front of everyone, at that point, they would have to share. Our phrase was, "If you show it, you share it."
TIP #3: Find Your Share, Then Share The Hunt
I grew up the fourth child in a family of five and I was six years younger than my next oldest sibling. Needless to say, it was hard to keep up with the big kids. Remembering how it felt to have two eggs in my basket because I could not outrun the rest, we created a family rule for our children to find our share, then help the other siblings find theirs. It's pretty straight forward, simply count up the eggs and divide by the number of children participating. Everyone finds that number of eggs. This turns a potential competition, that always leaves someone feeling like a loser, to a family adventure, where everyone works as a team. Those who satisfy their quota then play the warmer-colder game to help their siblings find the rest of their eggs. So much fun for everyone! You can even add a couple twists to this by have one golden egg for each child. Now it's okay if you don't, because life has competitions, but it's also okay if you do.
Together, we can do this,
It's time to come home.
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