the "SH" word

Monday, October 24, 2011


I'm seeing that "sharing," "waiting your turn" and "no touch" are the buzz words on the playground. Now that I'm bringing Siena to public parks and play areas, I need to figure out where I stand on the issue.  Yes, it is an "issue" and it's a little more complex than "sharing is good, taking is bad." 

At 9 months, Sisi isn't too interested in other kiddos (unless they are wearing something shiny), but older babies and toddlers LOVE her!  They want to pet her, touch her headband, and follow her around. They want to play with whatever she's playing with, and ride her like a horse. It cracks me up when babies who are just a little bit older than Siena point to her and say "baby" then try to cuddle her.  Even though it's my instinct to hover and referee every interaction to make sure everyone is "behaving", I try my hardest to sit back, observe and let things take their course (unless I feel like someone will get hurt).  Usually Sisi is totally fine, even when someone takes her toy or accidentally crawls over her in a tunnel. Occasionally she'll reach for something another child is playing with, and that child will yank it back.  Does Sisi get her diapers in a bunch about it?  No.  But the parents sure do! Then suddenly this minute interaction becomes a big deal with a lot of tension surrounding it.

Is it a big deal, or is it wasted breath? Should we be trying to teach babies to share, and wait their turn, and keep their hands and feet to themselves before they even have a concept of those abstract ideas? Should babies work these potentially volatile interactions out on their own, or do they need us to set things straight? When do we start to teach about sharing?  When do we need to set these rules? 

My answers?  I have no idea.  I'm a FTM here, with zero infant experience.  A few months ago, I would have said that parents need to keep the peace and order on the playground.

I will say, this blog post by RIE advocate Janet Lansbury (who just seems like the coolest, most gentle lady ever) and accompanying videos opened up a whole new world to me.   What do you think?  I'm especially curious to hear what the seasoned moms have to say about the "sharing" issue. 

If those were your babies, what would you have done?   Does it seem negligent to just sit back?


Sara October 24, 2011 at 8:55 PM  

I know what you mean... I'm flying blind here too!

This is just my instinct (and from watching other moms), but I feel like it's okay to intervene... but keep things positive. I like the "trading toys" idea... it's so cute seeing an older toddler come up and trade toys with a baby. The baby doesn't care at all, but it's so good for the toddler to think about sharing.

And if no one is getting hurt/upset, and one toddler isn't obviously bullying the others, let them be! :)

Rachel October 25, 2011 at 5:40 PM  

Interesting, Kris! I always thought you had to intervene (not totally sure why?) but it sounds like letting them work it out for the most part might be a good idea. Not sure how you handle that when other moms are doing differently, though.

Lacey October 26, 2011 at 2:41 PM  

I agree, this is a really interesting topic. I've never heard of the approach before of just letting the kids work it out. I'm not sure that I agree with the idea philosophically that kids can work everything out on their own and it's not up to us to intervene, but I suppose if you don't take it to extremes, it does make sense. I think most of the time, we as parents want to step in because we're terrified that our friends will go away thinking, "That child is such a brat, the way that she doesn't share. And her mother sat there and didn't do anything!" Or, at least, that can be my fear.

But we're not meant to operate from fear right?

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