Training Our Children to Share

Please know that as we begin the process of training our children to share, it will involve both close monitoring and probable intervention on our part. Remember, our children are little learners and little learners require intentional and patient teachers. But be encouraged because in the end, training our children to share now will make things significantly easier later.

anna-kolosyuk-551398-unsplash (1)

We don’t only train our children to share because it’s a kind thing to do but because God has commanded us to have a heart of generosity with one another.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 says, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” 

Though our children are not yet in charge of their own financial decisions, it’s good for us to begin exemplifying and training them toward a heart of generosity. It’s truly better to give than to receive! As we move forward with this in mind, it’s also good for us to remember that they are children and the learning process with be just that- a process. I mean goodness gracious- we adults still have a tough time with this whole sharing thing!

There are some things we need to keep in mind when we’re training our little ones to share…

  • There is a time for sharing and a time for keeping

It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘constant share merry-go-round’, but there are certain times when children don’t need to share- and that’s completely okay! A few of these exceptional moments/situations may be:

-Birthday’s

-Favorite toys (not 20 of these, but one or two ‘specials’ are definitely okay to keep for themselves)

  • When we share, we are showing kindness toward one another. So, when our children choose to share their toys, time and affection with others, it’s so important that we recognize their kind decision and praise it!

There are a few mindful phrases that can be helpful when training little ones to share… 

  • When we are asked or told to share by our parents/adult in charge, we listen and obey. (In this instance, we’re assuming that, as mentioned above, a child is being less than generous with his/her toys. It’s in this moment that the adult in charge would step in to make sure that all the children are able to get some play time.)

Ephesians 6:1 reminds us that children are to obey their parents because they belong to the Lord and it is the right thing to do.

When our children are asked or told to do something  within the realm of safety and appropriateness, we as parents and nannies should expect 1) a listening ear and 2) an obedient body.

  • If sharing and listening is proving to be too difficult and a child refuses to listen to instruction, then the specific toy or activity that is in question is now to be made unavailable for play.

If we can’t play nice and share a toy with our friends, then we can’t play with that toy at all. 

After a 5 minute wait period, the toy that the child was unable to play with can be revisited by asking, “Do you think you can play with this toy and also share with your friends? You have a turn and then your friend will have a turn. Do you want to try?”

  • We never take from another person’s hand.

When I use the word “take” here, it is referring to the action of grabbing or acquiring without permission from the person who is using it at that time. Usually I require that the “taker” give the object back to the other child’s hand and either 1) ask nicely to have it and wait for a response or 2) listen to his/her friends words of “No, not right now” and move on to some other activity.

  • If there is a problem, ask for help. Don’t take matters into your own hands. (pushing/biting/hitting/pulling etc.)

You may notice that I often refer to things you,he,she as- ‘we’. I find that using ‘we’ is useful because it creates the expectation that we ALL are to be kind, generous and selfless. The statements with a “we'”come off less pointed and more encompassing. The standard and expectation is for all, not just the child. So, instead of saying, “Don’t hit” or “You don’t hit”, I would say, “We don’t hit people”.

Training a child to share can prove to be very trying and very trying- let’s be honest! It requires a lot of involvement as we have discussed, but in the end it does pays off. When you experience that proud moment of seeing your little one offer a toy to a child who may not have one to play with, then you’ll know it’s all been worth it! So, don’t give up and keep on reinforcing those standards of kindness and generosity, Mama and Nanny. We’re in this together!

Have a fun or encouraging story about sharing? Please SHARE by commenting below!

Xx

NannyBeth

Advertisements

Let Your No be No and Your Yes be Yes

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught breaking a ‘promise’. Whether it was intentional or not.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been caught breaking a ‘promise’.

Whether it was intentional or not.

I promised to bring my oldest niece to her gymnastics practice, but I forgot. I promised to meet my mother at the gym so we could both whip our bums into shape, but I got busy at work and had to cancel. I promised that I wouldn’t get ‘mad’ when my husband brought up his opinion about my dinner dish last night, but I did (oops). So many times in my life I can recall not only my yes not meaning a thing, but even my PROMISES not holding significant weight.

I know what God has to say about this. He says that we need to be so trustworthy, so careful to speak and so filled with integrity that our only words on decisive matter should be ‘Yes’ and ‘No’. While doing devotions the other day in the book of James, I read in chapter 5 verse 12, “Above all my brothers and sisters, do not swear- not by heaven nor earth or by anything else. All you need to say is simply “Yes” or “No”. Otherwise you will be condemned.” Huh. Condemned? Really? Wow. God just basically whipped out a huge LISTEN TO ME sign and hit me with it.

I decided to reflect a bit…

How many times a day do I say “Yes” to something but not really take the time to think on whether I mean it or not…

I’m so bad at this! I’m a “Yes” queen! Anyone else out there like me?

I’m so afraid of hurting peoples feelings, that I am inclined to say yes before people even get their last word out. Its not the healthiest of habits. “Yes, of course, I will do the dishes.” “Yes, I will be able to pick you up tomorrow.” “Yes, I will come to your birthday party tomorrow night after working a 12 hour day and have to be up the next day at the crack of dawn to sing at church for 5 hours.”

I just. cant. stop.

I guess what this devotion did was, it made me pause and take note. I don’t think saying yes all the time, or even most the time, is a good thing. But likewise, if I am saying ‘No’ all the time, but don’t ever give anyone a reason to believe that I mean it, then I might as well not say it at all. In fact, I’d say not meaning what you say in either case is a bad thing. Turns out, God agrees. 😉 Funny how He knows whats best, even ahead of my own accordance.

So in order for anyone to take me seriously, I need to actually mean what I say. I shouldn’t have to swear, promise or repeat my yes’ 50 times for someone to believe me! Or, even worse still, make all my promises and STILL have no one believe me. When I’ve reached that level of ‘loose mouth’, there is a definite problem.

Loose Mouth: A symptom of the heart. A face muscle that’s not yet developed with self control and wisdom. It hasn’t been trained to keep shut when its needed, but instead blurts out any and all thoughts. This undisciplined muscle has been known to end relationships, damage careers and bring even the toughest people down to their knees.

Words.

Yes or No.

Such little words but they hold so much power.

Maybe it’s just me, but I really needed this reminder. My word (and words) should be worth something.

I know it’s not easy. We probably wont even reach the point where we do this all the time. But if we could reach the point of doing it…75% of the time? I know it’d be worth it.

I have worked with children for a very long time. Whether they are 14 years old or 4, I know for a fact that they need my ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ to mean something. It’s what they base their actions and decisions on. It’s what they look to for a green light or a red. It’s how I, as the adult and authority, keep my sanity within discipline!

If my word means something, suddenly so do I.

God is so good! He knows the best for me (and you) before I figure it out. Today, I pray for realization, for a sensitive nature and an awareness of where I lack wisdom and discernment, so that I may speak with certainty, “Yes” or “No”.

Let’s continue speaking with power and truth ladies! ❤

  Matthew 5:37

“All you need to say is simply, “Yes” or “No”. Anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

What It’s All About

I was once told that a romantic gesture to one, may be a creepy gesture to another. For instance, imagine that you are in a romantic relationship. You know, the new relationship, can’t get enough of your kisses, want to follow you around all day, I’ll share your drink with you, kind of love.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, and not for human masters.” – Colossians 3:23

“It’s not what you do but for Whom you do it, that gives it its significance.” – Erwin Lutzer

I was once told that a romantic gesture to one, may be a creepy gesture to another. For instance, imagine that you are in a romantic relationship. You know, the new relationship, can’t get enough of your kisses, want to follow you around all day, I’ll share your drink with you, kind of love.

One particular day you decide that you want to surprise your love with a very extraordinary act. Once he leaves the house for work, you go through the back window that you know he leaves unlocked. As you start to tidy up the place, you notice that he doesn’t have his favorite kind of cereal. You make a mental note to pick that up later and sneak it into his cupboard. The house is now completely tidy, so you open up your bag of goodies. You know he likes cake so you have brought all the fixings. He won’t mind if you use his things so you proceed to preheat the oven, take all of his mixing bowls out and prep the counter. The cake is baking in the oven and you wonder what to do. Not for long though because it occurs to you that in order to be completely ready for the night you have planned, you need to freshen up. The cake has about another half hour and that is just enough time to get in and out of the shower. Your man won’t mind if you use his cleaning products, because, well, he is just the best! The damp towel is hung, the soap and shampoo are placed back in its place and you hear the oven timer go off. Yes! Just in time. Cake is prepped and dressed with vanilla frosting, his favorite. Good thing too, because now it’s a half hour till he’s expected home. House is clean, you’re feeling fresh, cake is looking good and…shoot! The cereal. You sneak out the window, run down to the local convenient store (quickly you don’t have much time) and sneak it into his cupboard. And 3,2,1…. *doorbell rings*.

Everything is perfect. Your ‘pudding pie’ is going to be SO excited to find his lady in his house with all of these surprises awaiting him!


 

Now this is all super romantic if you are in a mutually trusting and loving relationship.

Unfortunately, though, if you were the only one to feel a romantic feeling toward a man and execute these same ‘surprises’, you would most likely be arrested for trespassing and more.

You see, there is more of a significance for Who you do an action for, than what the action is in and of itself.

God calls us to work at whatever we do as if we were working unto Him. The daily grind is not just about punching your card day in and day out for the next 30 years. Every single day is an opportunity. An opportunity to show love and care for your coworkers and customers. Is it easy? Nope. But when we think about what God has done for us, how he sent his Son to die, be raised to life on the third day, and prepare a place for all those who trust in Him, then it is more of a natural reaction that we would strive to work for the Who and not the what. On a daily basis, I strive to give my day away to God and ask him to use me in it. If my days were up to me: my reactions, my plans, my attitude, my thoughts, my mouth and my desires, well it would be a roller coaster of a ride! When I find the meaning and the anchor of do’s and don’ts in Christ, suddenly what I do throughout the day takes on more of selfless and loving light. He is the one who puts all significance to the work that we do.

As we enter this next week, let’s take the time to invite God into it. See how your attitude, interactions with your littles and outlook on the profession you are in.

Giving the WHY

Teaching moments happen almost daily when you are on child duty, but some can be a little more necessary than others.

Teaching moments happen almost daily when you are on child duty, but some can be a little more necessary than others…

I was boarding the bus heading for our midweek outing to the children’s museum. The ride had begun with a few sips of milk, a lovely rendition of the wheels on the bus and a few ‘what’s that’s’?!’ directed at people close by. All of a sudden I felt a swat on my hand. Now I knew what my little one was TRYING to get across to me. “Please move because I want to put my hands there,” is what she meant to say (and I would have gladly done it). Because I knew this, and I know that we all need reminders sometimes, I reminded her that we do not hit and if we would like to put our hand where another’s are we say ‘Excuse me’. She nodded understandingly and said excuse me. I moved my hands and life was good. Not but a few minutes later, I felt another swat on my hand followed by another. I softly, but firmly took her little hands, came down to eye level to make sure my voice was heard and repeated, “we do not hit, if you want someone to move we use our words” (Remembering that the less words we all use in correction and redirection with our little ones the better, I left it at that).

I knew that at this point, she was testing out the waters of ‘well, what are you going to do about it’ pool. Every child does. For some it may be more around 1 or 2 years of age and for others you may see a huge display of this when they hit their teen years, but either way it does need to be addressed. You see, our children (as we did) need a reason WHY not to do something that you kindly request or require they not do, not just a no or please don’t. Can I get an amen from anyone who has ever tried to just talk a kid out of not grabbing that cookie off the counter? This was one of those times. The next time she attempted to swat at my hand I was ready, caught her little hand before it could reach mine and held it safely for one whole minute. I reassured her that she would have her hand back but if she was going to use it to hit then it needed to take a break. There is absolutely no hurting involved with this ‘why giving’ and there should be none. Providing the why should be affective and immediate not dragged out and painful. There are many some other forms of ‘why giving’ that could be given as well:

  • Because if you don’t, you will need to serve 2 minutes in break
  • Because if you don’t, we will not be enjoying any more chocolate milk
  • Because if you don’t, you will need to sit on my lap for the rest of the ride

Remember that the ‘why’ that you are giving must match the crime and their age. I will talk more on this later, but here is a good place to start.

When the time was up and her little hand could go free to either make the kind decision or unkind one. The choice was hers, but now she had the ‘why’.

We soon exited the bus, dug out a yummy snack from under the stroller and continued to the museum. There was not another incident of hitting.

Have you ever experienced a teaching moment with your little? I’d love to know how you handled it! Comment below!

How to Deal with Your Child’s Hurt Feelings

At one point or another we have all had our feelings hurt. he truth is, dismissive actions and words from others (especially close to us) can cut deep. For children, learning all about this thing called hurt and forgiveness is a tough road. It is our job as the nanny to help guide the learning and teach correct responses when it does happen.

At one point or another we have all had our feelings hurt. Sometimes it is easy to get over and other times we stew over the pain for weeks or more. The truth is, dismissive actions and words from others (especially close to us) can cut deep. For children, learning all about this thing called hurt and forgiveness is a tough road. It is our job as the nanny to help guide the learning and teach correct responses when it does happen.

Madison and Olivia are the best of friends and the worst of friends. When it comes to playing together on the playground, they seem to make it work until one wants to play a game that the other does not. This seems to create a part in the close-knit relationship that they have created over the years of knowing each other. Suddenly it is as though they cannot stand another second with the other person. Not only can Madison now not stand to look at Olivia, she must make their close mutual friends feel the same way. Kids can be mean. Can I get an amen?

Suddenly this fun play date turns into a war for popularity and attention. Madison rallies her closest friends (apart from Olivia) and moves forward with convincing them that playing with HER is the best option for their playground experience. If they only follow her to the other end of the playground they will have the swings to themselves and be able to sing all the latest Taylor Swift songs. Olivia, begins to sell her friends on the idea of creating a fort with sticks and rocks on the opposite end of the playground. Madison won. Now the quarrel has turned from a divided view on play activities, to who has more friends, to name calling. You can see where this is going.

Feelings have been hurt. The lines have been drawn in the sand and someone needs to intervene with some wise counsel before this play group turns into a fight club. This is where we come in.

I make my way over to sobbing Olivia on the stump to the left of the tree house. As I kneel down, before I can get a word in that would provoke her to spill her side of the story, she begins, “Madison is so mean! She says that nobody likes me and all our friends are her friends now. She doesn’t want to play with me anymore and I want to go home.” Realizing that for an 8-year- old this fight is as real as if it were my husband and I fighting (but we don’t do that 🙂 ). With careful words, I reassure her gently, “Olivia, I am sure that Madison did not mean all of the words that she said. I think that her feelings we hurt as well when you said that you didn’t want to participate in her activity because it was dumb.” “Sometimes when we get hurt, we say really mean things that we don’t mean.” I continue on about how Madison and her have been friends for a very long time, that her Madison work great together and then present the question, “Would you like to ask her if there is something that you both can agree on to play?” Faced with a choice of sitting on the sidelines of her friends playing, having one of her best friends upset with her, or moving forward to resolve the matter with a compromise, she chooses the latter.

Madison is eager to reunite! Once Olivia apologizes for her part in the disagreement and hurt feelings fiasco, they both share in a long giggle filled hug.

It is so important to reiterate to children that we are not perfect. There are going to be times when our friends lose their cool and grab the toy from our hands. When our mom comes home stressed from work and blows us off for her latest work text. Our dad cancels for the 2nd time because he just can’t miss this meeting. And yes, when we just plain do not agree with other people’s opinions or agendas. But this is the perfect time to teach: forgiveness, patience and self-control.

If the situation can be resolved? Try to resolve it. If it can’t? Try to teach and grow through it.

This is what we do as nannies. We teach our children how to forgive those who have wronged us, own their own part in the matter and move through and past the offense.