BABYBUG is for babies who love to be read to and for the adults who love to read to them. Here are a few suggestions to make your read-aloud time even more enjoyable for you and your baby.
(When you're finished, visit BABYBUG's big sister magazine, LADYBUG, to sing along to "I Had a Little Cherry Stone." You can also check out the BABYBUG blog for photos of our little readers in the garden, book recommendations, parenting tips, reader questions, and more!)
When we tell our children to share with friends or siblings, we mean, “Take turns, be generous, and care about each other.” But sharing is hard for young children. It’s hard for a toddler who’s a little hazy on the meaning of words like ours, yours, and mine. It’s hard for a three- or four-year-old who knows how to take turns but doesn’t have enough years of experience under his belt to do it well.
Even though sharing is hard, it’s something you can help your children learn. It takes time, but it’s worth the effort. Here are some ideas to begin with:
Sharing doesn’t have to mean giving up a toy the minute a child asks for it. As any parent knows, we don’t always feel very generous when we’ve been interrupted! So allow your child to continue playing with a toy until he or she feels satisfied. Most likely, your child will need help remembering to pass the toy along when he’s finished with it. Remind him that “David needs a turn when you’re done.”
Of course, you’ll need to keep David from breathing down your child’s neck while he’s waiting his turn! Help him get started on another activity. Even better, join in his play for a while. A little extra attention from you can make waiting easier—and may mean more to him than any toy.
When your child hands a toy over to someone who’s been waiting, let him know you’re pleased. And let him know, too, that he’s made the other child happy: “Look, David’s smiling. You’ve really made him happy by sharing.”
When you just can’t find a way to help children work things out, have them take a break with quiet activities such as listening to stories or drawing with crayons. Or redirect them to play equipment that children can enjoy together without the need to take turns. In this month’s selection of “Kim and Carrots” a friendship was formed while playing side by side on playground swings and slide.
Keep an eye out for toys and games that call for more than one child. They naturally promote sharing and taking turns. (After all, it’s not much fun to play catch by yourself!)
Show your children how to share through your own generosity. Be sure to use the word share when you do. “Would you like me to share my toast with you?” “Let’s share this chair. It’s big enough for us both to rock in.” Example is the strongest teacher of all.
- Help your child plant a “Please Pick” garden. In a container or a small patch of ground, grow flowers that your child is always free to pick. Try planting sturdy flowers like zinnias, daisies, or marigolds.
- When your child’s wading pool needs emptying, have her scoop up buckets of water and empty them under a tree.
- Designate a place where your child can dig to his heart’s content. To a young child, digging is half the fun of gardening.
- Your child can make a planter by filling worn-out shoes with dirt. Try planting dwarf sunflower seeds in them. The stems will look like long legs.
- Grow a salad. Leaf lettuce and radishes are easy to grow and can be planted in pots and window boxes. Have your child water the seeds with a spray bottle every evening. The whole family can enjoy the results.