2016 Resolution – I will share all that is not mine !!!!

Bed time stories have their own allure. Mommies and daddies over the word relate stories; we relate sagas. Stories in our house are based on a three tier system.
Level I: Hum book ke pictures dekhenge! (We’ll see the pictures!)
Level II: mummy padhao! (Ma, you read!)
Level III: Ab mummy papa -story sunao! (Ma, pa- create your own story!!)
I am generally engaged in REM sleep by Level 2. So, my children often hear confusing episodes in half mumbling tones. Giraffes come and eat the cake in the fridge, monkeys go to universities and pigeons chase the trucks…yeah that bad! And the worst thing is, the children lap it up and have become our fans!
To keep the insanity of my little chipmunks intact, I decided to play safe and read from books rather than create my own horrifying ecosystems. When it comes to books, I am no worse than a kabadiwala. So, out of the sack, came this pretty looking thing..
The storyline is pretty basic. The dog finds the ball. Then he sees a crying cat. The cat is sad because it lost a ball. (I wonder-How can a cat lose a ball in the park in broad daylight?) The dog wonders whether it should give the ball to the cat or pretend to own it.
I got bored and thought of asking my daughter what she would do if she were the dog? “Woof woof” She replied merrily. (And the world was introduced to a mother’s migraine!)
I tweaked my question to ask her – “What would you do with the ball if you were the doggy?” “I will share”. She replied with a big goofy grin.
And that got me thinking. Somewhere we have merged the demarcation between sharing and returning to the rightful owner.
How can you share something that is not yours to give? The dog couldn’t share because the ball was not his to share in the first place. And my observation with other children got me startled- Children are always willing to share if the object in question is not theirs. Hilarious.
So, how do I teach my child the concept of sharing – read giving up something temporarily for another’s enjoyment!
·         Be realistic
 Children aged 3 and under will not share- no matter how many times you plead. At three, children are just moving toward the age when they can grasp the concept of sharing – and the idea of sharing and taking turns must be taught by example, guidance and repetition.- Dr. Erickson
·         Provide leeway
Beta, share karo. And now, observe the child. If I could, I would pound mothers across the world on the head with one message. You don’t need to act nice all the time. Neither do your children. Traumas get created when you force a child to share unconditionally. Refrain , please. Stop trying to look good all the time.
·         Model sharing
 I make it a point to invite my children under the bed covers every night- Not that she isn’t going to sleep without me , but the whole concept is to make her feel welcome! And the smile on her face is worth it! My younger one knows that I will share my ice cream with her, no matter what. So, do puzzles together and share fruits and water the plants together-they revel in it and sharing will come naturally.
·         Permission
 An older sibling will always use brains and brawns to overpower a younger one. And also, often the younger kid may not even realize that he/ she is being manipulated to part with his special toy. Create respect. We can train our children to ask for the owner’s permission and usually the respect given gets the job done. On a bad hair day, there can be a no. Accept it. Lay low.

·         Be creative
 Right before a playdate, I give my kiddo a choice. She chooses three toys of her own will and we lock them in a cupboard -far from the guest’s eyes. And the playdate goes on without any fights over toys- all because the host is secure in the knowledge that his prized possessions are that- his own only.
I once read in Reader’s Digest about a mother who had major issues while dividing a cake between her two sons. None of them would be satisfied about the equality of their share. She came up with an amazing solution- she gave the knife to the elder son and instructed to cut out their shares. When the elder one gleefully did so, much to the consternation of the younger one, she asked the younger one to choose who gets which piece. Amazing. When she was asked where she got the brainwave from, she replied- an international conference she saw on Television.
The mother of one large family with four close-in-age boys had a policy of the family toy pool — gifts were enjoyed by the new owner for one hour, then they joined the pool of toys- www.askdrsears.com
On a drive, carry old clothes and let the child be the one to donate. Though it is far from sharing, but the idea of giving becomes ingrained in the child’s heart.
·         Ultimatums:
Often siblings don’t share and fight for that same ( exactly mind bogglingly same) toy which was lying invisible in a far flung corner of the room 5 seconds ago. Let them sort it out. If they don’t, let the toy ( now in super demand) stare at them from a high shelfJ Super learning -arey, ladaai ladaai mein laddoo haath se nikal gaya!
As a parent or educator , you may find obstacles while teaching them to share. Take heart. When did you learn to make that amazing lemon rice or create that magnificent piece of art or learn diving-When you self realize a need and feel an inspiration -So, touch, move and inspireand see your children share and grow!
And yeah.. you DON’T share sizzling brownies!
Happy New year, everyone.
Love as always,

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