How to Encourage Family Wide Sharing

January 9, 2019Mandi Morrison

The age-old saying is true; sharing is caring. When it comes to large families, it’s important to encourage sharing early on. This allows your kids to become more tolerant of one another, and indeed prepares them to be generous and easy-going adults in later life. Of course, there’s the argument that parents should accept their kids how they are, but bad behaviour should always be addressed and course corrected. If you’ve been struggling with this, then here’s how to encourage family wide sharing.

Consoles and Gaming
Gaming can bring out the selfish side in anyone, but it can be quashed. For example, the PS4 really encourages family use across the board. They can have multiple user accounts, run co-op games, and have parental controls so you can limit who your kids interact with online and how long they spend on video games. While your children might not be onboard with the idea at the start, they’ll soon change their minds when the fun factors come into play.
Additionally, it may be helpful to remind them of how other families share too. It’s very doubtful any of your kids’ peers have different games and consoles per head in their households, or that they spend all day on games, so it can also be useful to remind them that the rules are the same for everyone. Pick up multiple controllers and have a family game on FIFA; talk of sharing will soon turn into smack talk and bantering.

Sport and Activities
Sport is all about sharing in a sense. Every pass of the ball or use of a field is an exchange of ownership. If you can get your kids into sport, it’ll soon teach them the importance of teamwork and help them to consider other people. It will all come more naturally and perhaps more subtly too from realising that they can’t do everything alone, and that they need help sometimes in what they’re trying to achieve.
Moreover, you can be somewhat cunning in defining the term ‘sharing’ too. It’s not just products that can be shared, but experiences too. You could go on a family adventure trip, or undertake a visit to the Harry Potter studios etc. Sharing doesn’t always need to mean compromise or using a product, sometimes it can just be passing the time together! Ultimately, the more exposed your kids are to the wider world, the more their tiny ‘me me me’ world will shrink.

Checking Attitudes
Attitude counts for a lot here. When your kids are in selfish mode, sometimes reminding them of the expense of things can be enough to bring them onside. While it might be hard to remember when there’s bickering and shouting going on, your kids do love you. Unless they’re a particularly poignant brand of mischief, they’ll likely understand that you can’t go spending hundreds of pounds on a whim the moment they want something.
Therefore, it can be useful to remind them that sharing is often a mature and economically sensible thing to do. Try to ditch the ‘because I said so’ remarks, and perhaps avoid speaking to them like you’re punishing them out of spite. An honest, more ‘grown up’ conversation can go down well here and impart on them a useful life lesson about spending. Ask questions like; do we all go on individual holidays, or do we take one family holiday? Aim for logic and reason, rather than enforcing a strict rule that’s never fully debated or explained.

this is a collaborative post

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