Helping Your Child To Be A Good Friend - Lesson 1: Generosity




The characters in My Little Pony each represent an important Element of Harmony which helps a child to be a good friend. The first element we will discuss today is Rarity’s generosity. Her nature to help everyone in need and make unique presents for her friends makes her the best role model to follow when it comes to teaching children the power of giving!


But how is generosity so important for your child? Trust us, it has more benefits than simply being virtuous. First, it will enhance your child’s social development. By starting a giving & sharing from him/herself, a child with this quality exerts a gravitational force to which other peers are pulled. Second, it will help your child’s mental development. Reason is simple. Your child’s generosity will touch on people around him/her, eventually transforming their attitudes toward him/her into a very positive one. Surrounded by positive forces, your child will grow happier & healther! So, how do you instill Rarity in your child? 



These are 6 ways to help you teach generosity to your child:



1. Spend time to teach generosity


The best way to do that is through playdates and in their preschools. Under such social settings, they will be interacting with children in their age who may have similar interests and wants. For our children, it will be the first time when they start learning about generosity and they will see the immediate rewards from it!


When walking them through the experience of sharing, ask them:

  • What is their idea of sharing
  • What are some of the things they could share with their friends
  • How they feel about sharing

It is important to not rush this step. Building positivity around it and having them understand what they are doing are important milestones to nurture a generous child!



2. Understand the concept of generosity


Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. Have your child understand the reactions and consequences from generosity and what happens when others don’t share.


You can ask questions like:

  • Would you like to be around someone who shares?
  • What do you think others would be like if you liked to share?
  • What can we do if people decide not to share?
  • What can we do if we don't really want to share?

Bear in mind that the aim is not to shame an ungenerous child. The aim here is to help them understand that being selfless at times promotes the feel-good moments amongst people. Which also brings us to...



3. Respect and be patient with your child. Not every item is meant to be shared.


How would you feel if you had to share your favourite bag, your beloved dress or your prized possessions? Same with our children, they have belongings which they hold dear to and will not want to share.


Before jumping into conclusion and blame the child for being selfish in such scenarios, ask them in a calm manner:

  • Why did you not want to share?
  • What were you supposed to share?
  • How could you have shared?
  • What could happen if you did share?

In addition to nurturing generosity, we want our children to understand that there can be moments which they don’t want to be sharing and how they can cope with this. It too is an important step because we are guiding them to weigh their options. 



4. Lead by example


Kids learn from watching and hearing you. Kids will emulate your movements and speech. Always keep an open mind, encourage acceptance and not discriminate. You could be generous in ways such as giving up your seat to someone who is in need, or cleaning up after your meal in a hawker centre.


The most important thing is to be give and share willingly. That’s how Rarity from My Little Pony was when they faced the sea serpent in Season 1 Episode 2! When the moustache of the sea serpent was cut off, Rarity willingly cut off part of her tail and gave it to the serpent by connecting it to what was left on the serpent!


A good tip would be to take your child to a volunteering trip! Check out www.sgcares.org for volunteering opportunities in Singapore and work together as a family to decide on what to do. When volunteering, remember to keep an open and positive mind. There’s SO MUCH your child could learn from a simple volunteering experience!


When you bring a smile to someone’s face, your kids will want to learn how you did it and want to do it too!



5. Take turns & Time turns


Turn-taking is by far the best way for children to learn how to share. Assure your kids that they will get the chance to play with the toy. Teach them to reason out that generosity does not mean giving up the item – they will get it back.


To help in their first steps, you can also time each turn to make sharing fair to all. Everyone gets their equal chance to play!



6. Reinforce and encourage positive behaviour


A happy child is a generous child and is someone who wants to bring joy to everyone! Every child loves to be praised for good behaviour. They too want to seek approval from you especially when they decide to share. Encourage this by giving them the thumbs up and a BIG SMILE when they share!


Don’t assume that generosity comes easily. Encourage your child with positive words whenever they share to reinforce good behaviour! 



Giving is better than receiving! Kids learn better when they are given choices and free rein. Take a positive approach and always teach and not instruct.


For more parenting tips, check out http://riseandshine.com.sg/articles/cat/enrichment




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