Can young children learn to work together, to help and share? Yes, yes, yes! I know it’s not an easy task for a two-year old or even preschooler to share, but young children can learn, as we patiently lead the way. When we show them by our actions and encouraging their attempts to work together, they will learn. In all honesty, even as adults there are times when we don’t like to share, but we can all learn to care about others. Like two-year-olds, there are some things that we would rather declare as, “Mine!” and not share. We want to take ownership, which is not always a bad thing. Let’s face it, some things should belong to you and you alone, but thankfully God has given many of us enough to share as well.
I think a first step in learning to care about others is an awareness of others around us. With young children, this awareness comes as we both provide opportunities for social interaction and as we remind our kids of the needs of others around them. For young children, this might mean suggesting that a child lets his/her friend have a turn with the truck or whatever it is he/she is playing with. Sharing is easier if you have something available such as another truck to replace the one the child is sharing with a friend. Be sure to praise your child when he/she does share. EX: “Kaylee, Jaime wants a turn to play with the truck. Will you let Jaime have a turn while you play with this truck. You can play together. Thank you, Kaylee, for sharing.”
If your child is still reluctant to share even after offering a replacement, try giving him or her a time limit. EX: “Kaylee, Jaime wants a turn to play with the truck. You can play with it for 1 more minute and then it will be Jaime’s turn.” Don’t forget to encourage the child who wants the truck or whatever toy it might be to use his/her words when asking for a turn rather than grabbing the toy.
Helping is something that young children can and often want to do too. While it’s true that it can take more time to do a job when your child is helping, helping is an important first step towards gaining independence, empathy for others and contributing or doing useful work. When your child helps, he/she gains confidence and self esteem. Sometimes your child may need to be asked to help, yet other times he/she may volunteer. Either way, let your child help whenever you can. Whether it be stirring the batter for a batch of cookies, putting their shoes away or your two-year old bringing you a diaper for their new baby brother or sister, helping is important.
Helping or sharing is simply actively serving others. It begins at home with simple everyday experiences. As our children see us exhibit these traits, they will begin to reach out and serve too. Need a place to serve? Look at your church or community. Opportunities abound when you are looking for them. I recently had the opportunity to share cookies with a friend recovering from surgery, take another friend to the fair and offer my home as a place to stay for yet another friend. None of these things were hard, yet each opportunity filled a need for someone and gave me a chance to share what God has given me with others. I was blessed even as I blessed others.
God gives us so much, helping and sharing is one simple way we can give back. As we help and share, we are blessed and best of all, God’s love shines through. Let’s ask God to show us ways of helping and sharing.
PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Thank you for the opportunities you have given me to help and share with others. I haven’t always appreciated these opportunities, in fact I have even complained a few times about the opportunities that come my way. Crazy isn’t it Lord, how I ask for opportunities to share your love with others, but then when those opportunities come in the form of work or interfere with MY schedule, I feel stressed instead of blessed? But when I face these opportunities with your grace, knowing that you love me and that you are able to work through me, then I can help and share joyfully. Forgive me when I forget to look to you and depend on you fully. Remind me that helping and sharing with others is really not about me at all, rather it’s about your grace and love shining through me. Show me how to help the kids in my life learn to help and share too. You have given me so much and given so freely; how can I not give freely to others? Thank you, God! Amen
GIVING & RECEIVING
I love to give gifts and I love opening gifts too, but sometimes giving is easier than receiving. Do you ever feel unworthy to receive a gift or perhaps you feel like you need to balance the scale when someone gives you a gift?
* Learning to receive graciously and joyously can be a gift too. Remember to be thankful for the gifts you receive and especially for God’s abundant gifts of grace.
* Remember that the gift-giver is blessed when they see your joy. Don’t always feel like you have to reciprocate.
WHAT CAN YOU GIVE?
* Give the gift of time – to your family, to a friend, to your community or church? Spending time with someone helping or just listening is priceless.
* Give the gift of encouragement -Send a note, an e-mail or give someone a call. Just knowing they were thought about can boost someone’s day.
* Give a smile. A warm friendly smile not only makes you feel better, but brings cheer to others too.
* Your talents can be gifts to others. Share what you do and do well.
* Share the workload.
WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD?
Share A Story: Nehemiah helps the poor – Nehemiah 5:11-12
Nehemiah did go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls and the gates. Nehemiah and the people there began the work of rebuilding the walls and God was with them. But some families came to Nehemiah and said, “We don’t have enough food for our families. We have to sell our land and our houses to just buy food.”
Nehemiah heard what they were saying. He was sad and mad when he heard that families were hungry. Some of the leaders of the people were collecting taxes for the king from the people and they were asking the people for a of lot of money – more than they should be asking for. When the people couldn’t pay, they would take their houses and land away. Nehemiah talked to the leaders of the people. He told the leaders to give the people their houses and land back. The leaders promised that they would give everything back.
Nehemiah became a leader of the people, but he was kind and helped the people. He didn’t take the share of food that was supposed to be his as the governor. Instead, everyday he welcomed people to eat with him. He didn’t ask for more from the people than they could afford. Nehemiah was kind to the poor people who needed help.
You can be kind and help others just like Nehemiah did. Nehemiah shared what he had with those who needed food. What can you share with people who need help? (Food, clothes, toys) How can you help others? (Help at home, be kind, be a friend to someone who needs a friend, help with a job, pick up toys, clean-up, etc.) Good ideas! God will help you share and help others because He made you and He loves you. He gives you hands and feet and lots of things that you can share. Let’s remember to help and share with all our heart just like Nehemiah did.
MEMORIZE: Col. 3:23 NIrV – (Hold hands though holding a book.)
Work at – (Pound fists together.)
Everything you do – (Fan hands out to the sides.)
With all your heart – (Place hands on heart.)
Thank you for making me so that I can help others and share with others. I want to be kind and helpful like Nehemiah was. Show me how I can work with all my heart to help others especially people who are sick, poor, sad or lonely. Amen
KNOW: Nehemiah helped others.
TALK ABOUT: How can I help others?
ASK: Who made you? God made me.
AND DO: I can help and share with others.
- Help and share this week at home and away from home. Let your child choose a favorite snack at the store to give to a family in need or your local food bank.
- Find a way to help someone who needs help – It could be a grandparent, a
neighbor who just lost his/her job, a child at your kid’s school, anyone.