Not being the most self-confident of people, I’m always in awe of those that are sure about their place and role in the world. At a baby group this week, I met a mother who stated she was taking her four month old to every group she could as she didn’t want her child to be one of those children that doesn’t know how to share.
Her confident statement left me feeling bad that my two year old had had a meltdown just the previous day when a friend was over for a play date and had dared to play with his rocket ship when he wanted to.
I had to take a moment though and remember that I have been spending quite a lot of time with toddlers. My son goes to nursery, spends a lot of time with other children and I know for a fact the majority of two year olds have the same problem with sharing their own toys. I believe that sharing (especially toys) is something children have to learn the hard way as part of the growing up process. While I agree we can expose them as much as possible to give them the chance to learn as early on as possible, I believe this is another life skill they have to learn by doing rather than being one that can just come naturally.
It dawned on me that my eldest child probably thought that cows are purple and bunnies a pale blue colour, based on a number of children’s books he has read. I felt it was time for him to see some animals close up in real life.
All four of us spent an excellent day at Bocketts Farm in Surrey. I was really amazed how well set up it was – rain or shine, there was plenty to see and do. From animal petting / feeding, through to a variety of tractor rides and soft play.
Despite how busy the car park seemed, there were no queues anywhere and plenty to do to fill up a whole day. Granted that the main attraction / takeaway from the visit for my eldest was the sit on tractor, but I feel better that my child now knows the true colours of animals and I for one can’t wait to go back!
This is an expression I heard one of the children in our family use and it’s really stuck with me. Originally used by the parent to encourage sharing between the four children, the child was making interesting use of it to get the piece of cake they wanted from grandpa. Children are smart!
Learning to share is part of all our development. Some, however, find it easier than others. An older sibling – especially if in the terrible twos age bracket – can find it a challenge when the new kid on the scene starts using / playing with what used to be the older child’s pride and joy.
A friend also flagged that there is likely to be a whole set of toys that don’t get played with by the younger child as they want to grow up fast and play with the older sibling and their cool toys – even if they aren’t quite ready for them. This can add to the older child’s frustrations and loud claims of ‘it’s mine’!
There is no rule book about what will work when it comes to teaching children to share, but please do share any words of wisdom.
Being on maternity leave has the great benefit of giving me more time with my 22 month old son. One activity I’ve missed out on is going to soft play areas during the week when they are slightly less busy. This morning was a great opportunity to take him to a local venue. Not only did he have a fantastic time (so much so he didn’t want to leave!) but it was also great to meet local mums with children of a similar age.
What was really impressive was the set up and support given by the local mums running the session.
It was a great, relaxed atmosphere with a nice range of toys – from soft play, through to a bouncy castle and scooters. My young son had a ball and I can see this becoming a regular event!
It’s worth looking out for soft play centres setting up at local village halls etc. You don’t need to go to a big commercial centre to have a great time.