Willow Magazine CREATING LIFE - Page 113


Then something changed, it became harder to let those things go. Our little toddlers were experiencing the feelings of loss and desire so much more and this natural instinct to feel safe to share, sometimes gave way to tears and tantrums.

One such day we invited our little cousin Nessrine (4 days apart from my girl in age) around to play. My daughter Malika, one and a half at the time, had a brand new swing and we were keen to let the girls have a play.

All was well, Malika showed Nessrine the new swing and invited her cousin to sit it in by calling her name, nodding her head and patting the seat of the swing. Although she had enthusiastically invited her to use the swing, once Nessrine was in it, Malika became distraught with the fact that she could not experience the joy of the swing herself while someone else was sitting in it!

So what do you do in that situation? Reason with them? Always a natural response, however you should never expect your toddler to politely agree with your reasoning when they really want something. Modelling? Definitely. If there is another adult around, show them the behaviour you would like from them, e.g. “Daddy, would you like the pencil”....”Oh yes please Mummy... thankyou so much.... Here Mummy would you like the pencil back”, “Oh yes please Daddy...”. Really, there's nothing more impressionable, than two adults sharing so nicely together.

There is of course also the distraction technique, “Oh Wow! Look at that butterfly!” or as a desperate measure, simply removing the object that is causing distress. But we really hit the jackpot that day when we came up with a new solution on the spot to deal with the situation.

While Nessrine was in the swing, I had Malika on my lap and started to sing. Being in a crisis, I just made up any words to distract her, singing about how it was Nessrine's turn on the swing and it would be Malika's turn next. The tune was catchy and Malika's distress waned as she danced along. We kept it very short and let Malika have a turn on the swing next, while Nessrine sat on her mother's lap. Out of instinct we started to sing the song again, at the end of the verse we again swapped them over and repeated this until they had three turns on the swing and three turns waiting each. As they swung more, the song developed and they had a longer time on the swing each time.

It was so interesting to watch how this completely changed their behaviour. Simply adding a song had turned the whole thing into a game, so that even the waiting time was fun. Later in the week I wrote a longer verse so that other mums (of a wide age range of children) could use the song as they gently guided their children through the experience of sharing.

HERE IS THE SONG.... https://youtu.be/LS_pJg8aaUE

It is easy to use this song to turn toddler sharing into a game.

The idea is that you can use the main verse of the song while someone is having a turn at something. There is an obvious section in the middle of the song where you can insert your child's name into the song, and the name of whoever they are sharing with. And when you return to the verse again it is time for the other child to have a turn.

Waiting time is for mama hugs and dancing along.

It may be best to try it first in an unheated situation, modelling to the children how to take turns whilst you sing the song. Then see if you can use it in a crisis situation. I've had a few parents try it out and say it worked for them! I hope it can work for you too!

By Belinda Kelly (aka. Songbird Bel)

CLICK to PLAY - The Sharing Caring Song - Youtube