Monday, 27 February 2017

Why I don't make my son share

So sharing? That's a tough one, isn't it? It's something that I have personally struggled with for a while. It's taken me a bit of time to figure out as a parent, what I wanted to enforce, and how to deal with difficult situations. Now, Yvann and Natasha share a four year age gap, and Natasha is only a few months old, so they are quite unlikely to really be arguing about toys too much. However, playing with friends and relatives has lead to some tricky situations and I wanted to take a little bit of time to share our experiences and how we handle these situations with you. 

Do you really need to encourage children to share? By Welcome to Mommyhood #montessori, #toddlers, #preschool, #sharing, #parenting advice, #parentingtips

Do you need to encourage your children to share? 

Dr. Montessori wrote in her own handbook that classrooms do not need to contain enough of each material for each child. This means that children may have to wait to do a work or use a material that they want. Children using a material may use it until they feel they are finished. This is a very practical lesson in 'real life', as well, where we do not have everything we want exactly when we want it. 

To answer the main question this article is targeting - Is it necessary to encourage children (even toddlers) to share? Absolutely not. In fact, we don't. That's the short answer. It is not developmentally appropriate for a toddler or even a preschooler perhaps to be sharing. 

When my son has friends or relatives over or is visiting them, similarly to a Montessori classroom where materials are limited, we do not force our son to share whatever it is that he is using as long the material is being used productively. That has been our general approach since our child started visiting with other children, basically from the toddler years. 

Now that he is 4.5 years old, he does seek out interaction with other children and plays with them more than he did as a toddler. Even (or perhaps more so) at that age, we did not encourage or force sharing between children. When a child chooses a toy, he or she may play with it until he or she feels it is sufficient. Then, another child has a turn. 

If you have multiple children (what Dr. Montessori suggests a teacher would do) is to offer two choices to the child waiting - a) continue to wait or b) choose another material. 

Sharing is something that will develop within your child as they grow older, once it is developmentally appropriate for that child. When we think of children learning to walk, learning to talk, we know that these processes are not something that we can force. A child will learn to do these things once they are ready. Similarly, with sharing, a child will learn to do so once he or she is ready. 

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