Advice- how to deal with a toddler's toy snatcher?

Ola - posted on 10/01/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Hello all,



Please help!



How would you deal with a 16 months old boy who keeps taking toys from my 17 months old baby girl. She kept trying to pull her toys but he managed to take it out of her hands. I interfered once and his mom interfered another time.



the 3rd time, he managed and took the toy away and I felt so bad as my baby girl was frustrated. I feel I l, in a way, let her down.



Any advice or similar experiences?

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Elfrieda - posted on 10/01/2012

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It's certainly not okay, but in another way it is okay. He's only 16 months old, he has no idea about social graces. That's what he's learning now, and it's not really a big deal, so please don't make it be one in your daughter's opinion. Probably the next step for him would be stealing a toy but then replacing it with another one. At least that's what I've seen, and it happens when they have a vague idea of fairness but the whole sharing thing hasn't clicked in yet.



The only thing I would do is watch and sometimes say to my daughter, "find a different toy" if he's already stolen it and sometimes tell him (intervene if you're right there while he's trying to pull it away) "No, Sally is playing with this toy now. Find a different toy." The one thing I would avoid saying is "You have to share" to your daughter right after he takes it away, because sharing is totally different from having something taken from you.

DeAnn - posted on 10/01/2012

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Until about age 3 or 4, children don't really recognize other people or their emotions. They are only aware that they have a "self" and their wants and needs are all they can conceptualize. He is not old enough to understand he is hurting her feelings. He does need to learn that this is bad and the toy should be taken away from him and told that's a "no-no" but he won't really understand why. You & the other mom need to be on top of their play and actively engage them.



Redirection often works - offering him a toy he likes better than the one he's trying to take, and offering your daughter another toy so she's distracted from her emotions. Remove the offending toy and offer both of them something else. Physically separate them if necessary.



Play dates with toddlers this young is a learning experience for everyone. Once they get older and start to recognize others have a "self" and emotions, they'll be able to understand why it's wrong, but should already be instilled with the idea that is not acceptable behavior. Ultimately, it's on his mom to be teaching him this. You can help your daughter learn coping skills by not feeling offended at his behavior.

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Ola - posted on 10/03/2012

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Thanks Elfrieda for your response. pretty good tip about the "sharing" definition after things are taken away.



thank you,

Ola - posted on 10/03/2012

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Thanks a lot Deanna,



see when you are saying teach my daughter coping strategies? what are some ideas of these strategies, pls? Also do you think this experience won't affect her then unless it's repeated? She is my only baby so far and I don't want her to grow up with frustration or anger.



Many thanks for any ideas,

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