There are some core values in the Filipino household that remains unchanged whether your family migrated in the U.S., in Europe or continues to live in the islands-
It’s the expectation to be generous to others. Sharing is caring mindset.
to see someone else almost like a reflection of you.
I have 4 siblings and I grew up as the Ate with three younger siblings.I wasn’t especially intelligent like my other sisters.
I didn’t get the same awards and colored ribbons as they did for performing scholastically better than their peers, but what I managed to get was this award-
Take note, in preschool. During my first day of school.
I remembered it vividly. This was a time when my parents were still getting their bearings to land a business that will provide for their growing family. We lived in a small apartment which was partitioned with a cement wall next to what they call in the Philippines- a squatter’s area (where people who cannot afford shelter squat for free). Since, my father grew up in a province in Marinduque, poor and selling coffee on top of a bilao (woven tray) at an early age, hanging out with the so-called poor children was not a forbidden practice in our household.
Usually, children in the islands play with similar, if not the same children within their parents’ income bracket.
So, my preschool was not especially for the middle class but was a mix of kids whose parents can afford an apartment, or for those who can’t but whose parents believe in the value of education.
On my first day of school, I remembered being excited because everything seem new including my black shiny mary jane shoes that slightly creaked when I made the slightest move. I was told I have to break it in some more to get it to quiet down.
During a seat-work, my teacher asked everyone to take out their pad paper. I took mine out with pride as did my classmates. Suddenly, I heard a cry in the back. One of my classmates, didn’t have a pad and was crying somewhat about that,
but mostly with the embarrassment of not having one. So, this is what I did…
I took my pad and give it to this classmate and I peeled a couple of pages to get me through the day.
Pretty cool kid, you think?
But, what’s most interesting to me was the reaction of my teacher.
She watched this whole thing happen and gladly accept my gesture of empathy with no question.
She could’ve said to me, “ it’s okay, I have an extra pad on my desk,” or
“ You can give her a couple of pages and take the rest, “ or
Teach the other child to use her words by asking a grown-up what she needs.
But, she didn’t do any of that.
She capitalized on the value of teaching the skill of sharing, it’s benefits (appeasing a crying classmate) and rewarding the deed with an award (later on) equivalent to having a perfect score on my pre-math skill exam.
Her teaching technique for sharing allowed me to experience its satisfying emotional gift and being a witness to my classmate’s gift unwrapping right in front of my very eyes.
Any child given this validation will likely want to share in the future.
That teacher exists in abundance in the Philippines.
Teaching Kids to Share ala Filipina Mom Style in America (or abroad)
I noticed that Filipina moms who are deeply rooted in teaching their children to cooperate usually provide their children with one single instruction, “Share!” when there is a toss up between one single toy truck & two kids brawling over it. Do these statements sound familiar?
“Ay naku, mag-share kayo dyan,”
“Just give it to your brother/sister, “
“If you don’t know how to share, nobody can play. I will take it away.bahala kayo dyan.”
If this is you, you’re not alone. Teaching children the skill to share is not an easy task.
Let’s face it, some adults don’t even know how to share so to expect that from our kids 100% is just not realistic.
But there is hope. At the end of this post, you will be equipped specifically with language to use so that you can successfully teach your child to share most of the time.
Because it raises your children’s emotional quotient (the component that allows them to be improve their relationship with others, not feel left-out and have a sense of belonging).
For you, it allows you to save your energy for better things, like catching your breath, or even cooking dinner without the interruption.
Clear Instructions equals Cooperation
If you are using language that is wishy-washy and unclear, you create a space for confusion with your kids. They get frustrated,
And so do you. It’s a losing battle.
I will be using the analogy of chair to help you visualize what your child is hearing from you depending on the instructions you give them.
#1 Tip: When there is one chair available,use the command,TAKE TURNS.
Imagine occupying a chair in a bus that is only good for one person and bus driver told you to share. “Share what,” you might ask scratching your head?
In a similar way, when you ask your child to Share a toy truck, he is currently playing, you are telling him to give up his seat to let someone else sit there.
For smaller children especially, this is a tall order.
Even for adults, seriously, how many times have you seen someone SHARE their seat when the seating capacity is only good for one butt?
IF there is only a chair available, you will instruct Junior to -Take Turns instead not share.
It can go like this: “Junior, I need you to take turn with your sister. Do you need 5 or 10 minutes ( the time will be up to you, it should be less than 20 minutes)to play with the truck?”
Children love to have a sense of control. Give them that & they’ll likely cooperate with you.
Tip #2: When there are 2 chairs that have unique features, the other does not have. Use the command, SWITCH.
So, let’s say Juinior has a blue car that can honk like an elephant and your daughter has a pink car with cute, dainty wipers and your duaghter wanted to borrow the blue car.
What do you tell Juinior? Share? Take Turns?
No. Remember clarity is king.
You will use the command, Switch instead.
When there are 2 seats and there is no wait because each can have one, what you want is for your children to switch places.
If Junior does not want the pink car, that’s ok.
He can chose another option or simply wait for sister to be done.
In this case, if Junior has a harder time switching, give him the option: “How much time can your sister play with your blue car, 10 minutes or 15 minutes.”
Remember not to use the word, Can. Can your sister play with your toy for 10 or 15 minutes?
If he argues, no, “0 minutes! “ Tell him, if he doesn’t choose, mommy will choose instead. This always work. But, remember, to be kind in your approach and know that your tone is equally important as your strategy.
Let’s go back to the bus scenario, if someone is seated in one of those bench-like seat good for 2-3 people, and the bus driver shouts, “share your seat please.” What would you do? ♥️
You simply scoot your butt enough to allow the other person to sit down.
When there are two or more toys available wherein a child can independently play with a toy even when parts of it where given to another, you will use the command share.
You will not share a puzzle because you need all the pieces to make use of it. You can share blocks as long as it doesn’t interfere with someone else’s project. If it does, use the command take turns instead.
Tip #4 Trust Your Child’s Ability to Cooperate
If you give clear, consistent instructions, it will be easier for your children to cooperate with you. You’ll be surprised how they can share most of the time without much fuss, and with practice with as little intervention from you as possible.
It also helps to empathize with their young minds on how difficult it is to share their space/toy to someone else.
Do not expect a perfect, happy child giving up something that they think belongs to them. When they share with pouty lips & tears in their eyes, focus on what they had to overcome to listen to your commands and not to upset you.
Thank your children often. ❤️
When you are in the habit of taking things away from your child instantly when they don’t play as you prescribed, it communicates distrust.
By all means, if it’s a safety issue or you’ve tried all you can, use anything to bring you back to your sanity. No judgement here, mama.
If you can, use positive statements over negative ones. Say, I need you to share the pegs, Junior but don’t break it and you need to make sure you clean it up.
It contains more negative statements and combines too many instructions in one command.
Here’s what you can say:
“Junior, remember, we always clean up our toys after we play with it. I want you to share the
pegs with your sister, there’s plenty of it. Thank you, Junior, i know I can count on you.”
Ok, it doesn’t have to be like that exactly but I’m just giving you a very effective framework.
In the western culture, value is placed on expression, on giving the other person enough space,and whoever takes it first gets the badge for using it forever and ever amen.
Filipina moms who hold true the tradition of sharing and generosity may be a bit frustrated that their children in the States( or abroad) seem less giving of themselves.
Teaching them to navigate their current world while embracing generosity as a core value is possible.
These strategies marry both.
I hope you find them helpful. Comment on the side-bar on what other strategies you’ve tried to teach your children to share.