Monday, April 5, 2010


Oh the woes of toddler sharing. Somehow, this year, she wasn't too nice on playing with other kids her age, particular Amos whom we usually have playdates with. I've been scratching my head on how to deal with the offensive reactions & emotional outbursts she has towards kids coming to take her toys she has in her hands.

We were at Pollywogs once when a toddler boy, probably younger than her, came towards her and pulled the big ball she had in her hands. She threw herself onto the ball pit and wailed bitterly. Gosh...i was a bit taken aback by her reaction but on hindsight and after some reading up, I'm thinking that it was because she hated the little kids coming to snatch things away from her. We don't like it either if it happens to us. Somehow she prefers older kids cos they don't do that to her...i think it's more like the other way around...she snatches things from them (like when she plays with her cousins who will lovingly give it to her) or is too afraid to go near them (if it's a older kid she doesn't know).

She also doesn't want to play with other kids, which means, if she's playing a toy, she wouldn't let the other kid touch any part of the toy, else she'll throw the toy or snatch it away...and that can be quite aggressive....the throwing the toy (so far she hasn't hit anyone, thank God!) and the pushing the kid's hand away from the toy. But kids this age is always interested in the other kids toy.

I think she particularly dislikes playing toys with Amos cos he'll always be interested in what she's playing and they always end up in some mess with Eliza pushing Amos away or crying and Amos hitting her (ok that only happened once or twice). But if it's doing stuff together like running about, playing outdoors, they're quite fine. i guess there's no toy to fight over?

Anyway, i've told her countless times that if she wants something she "must say 'please' " & "cannot snatch" which she'll chant that phrase to me...but can't seem to do it. Seems like this isn't working out. I understand that this is a common phase that toddlers go through and i wonder when this will end.

Quote two mums' reply which i'll try to use:
"Something we have been told is not to share but to say turn. Lily had an older child to learn behaviour off (sometimes great - sometimes not so). So when she snatched a toy we don't say "share nicely" (well, not anymore), but we say something like "Lily, it's Jane's turn. Lily can have a turn after Jane".
And yes, we also tell Lily not to throw, if you do it again I will take it away - and we always follow thru. She is starting to get the message.
We are seeing the benefits of this now as Lily has just started saying "turn" when she wants something that we've got and she wants to play with. "

" It doesn't mean the toy has to actually belong to them, but when they are playing with it they perceive it as theirs. It is healthy and appropriate for children this age to take turns rather than share. If your child is the one with the toy, tell them "Jenny wants to play with that when you are done. Can you give it to her when you are done?" Then, when you see that they are done with the toy and put it down, remind them "Are you all done? If you are all done, you need to give it to Jenny" and help them hand it over at that time if they are still having trouble. If your child wants a toy that someone else has, teach them how to ask for it. Give them words if they are too young to have any. "You want to play with that? Ask Mike if you can have it when he is done"

Another from
"When a playmate suddenly snatches your child’s toy, it’s important not to jump in and start scolding or comforting. Instead, act as a mediator and teach your toddler to speak up for herself, says Schafer. You can check in with your child and ask her, “do you like being treated that way?” And if she says no, tell her “then you need to speak up,” says Schafer.

Teach your child to communicate with her playmate by saying something like: “Can you tell your friend how you feel and say ‘I’m not done yet?’” Follow this by saying “your friend is asking for a turn when you’re done, can you find him and give him the toy when you’re finished?” This puts the control in the hands of your child instead of you simply saying “It’s his turn now,” and handing the toy over.

Toddler friendships can be a bit rocky at times and if things seem to be getting out of hand, it’s okay to step in as long as you do it without overreacting. “Hitting, biting and other aggressive behavior are often a sign that children are trying to connect,” says Schafer. “They’re just trying to figure out how to play and haven’t quite got it yet.” Your knee-jerk reaction may be to want to separate them, when sometimes you just need to redirect them toward cooperative play, she says. “You can say something like, ‘it looks like you really want to play with this boy, so how about we build a fort together?’”

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