Sharing and generosity are obviously traits we’d all like our children to have, but they’re going to be extra important as your daughter starts kindergarten. From playground equipment at recess to books at storytime and even the teacher’s attention—nearly everything in the kindergarten environment is set up to be shared among the students.
Having a firm grasp on why it’s important (and can be fun!) to share before the first day of school will help her avoid hurt feelings and will likely even help her make friends. Here are some ways you can help her shine at sharing in the kindergarten classroom:
- Take her to the playground and have her practice taking turns on the slide, the monkey bars, and other in-demand equipment. Practicing between turning a jump rope for others and jumping in it herself is another good way to learn this. It’s more fun when everybody gets to participate so nobody feels left out.
- Play board games with her at home where she can practice being patient and waiting her turn again. And know that it’s not a great idea to let her win every time! An important part of sharing is learning how to share the spotlight and be happy when others have success even when you don’t.
- Resist the urge to drop everything when she wants your attention. Waiting a few minutes for you to be off the phone, finished with a conversation, or to have read a few pages of a book will help her learn to share your attention—and will translate into greater patience when she has to share the time and attention of her kindergarten teacher.
- Teach her the difference between asking to share and demanding to have. Some toys and other items, like hula hoops, can only be used by one person at a time. If she sees a child playing with a hula hoop and wants to play with it, she can ask to share it by asking to use it when that child is finished—not by demanding that she get to play with it right away! Similarly, it’s important for your child to know that if she’s playing with something and she’s not finished or the time she has been given with it is not over, it’s alright not to hand it over to another child just because they want to play.
- Go through your girl’s toys and clothes with her and discuss the fact that some girls and boys don’t have as many nice things as she does. Encourage her to select a few items that she would like to share with less fortunate children in your area, then donate them to a local charity. Note that sharing with those she doesn’t know (and those whose greater needs she can’t yet truly understand) is going to be a much harder idea for her to grasp and understand than sharing with those she can see and talk with—but it’s never too early to get her in the practice of generosity.
Sharing is a learned ability, but one that can help your daughter excel as she starts school. Encouraging this type of kindness from a very early age will help her form healthy friendships, develop empathy, and even gain a sense of all the good she can do in the world.