poproxy360 asks: Each time my three-year-old cousin visits, she takes something and says it’s hers, and does not share. I know she does not know any better, but she is living in my house for five days starting tomorrow, while her parents have a baby boy. I am excited, but I don’t want her to take my favorite stuff! What should I do? Because I love kids and I am a kid!
Hi poproxy360 –
The easiest answer for me is that she’s three years old. When I was a puppy, there were about a thousand things in Handsome’s house that I wanted to chew on, and his job was to keep them out of my reach. (He managed to most of the time!) It sounds to me like that’s your job too.
Is there a toy box you can put your things in, especially the things she’d find interesting, that you can put somewhere where she can’t get into it? Do you have a garage or something, a special room she can’t get to, where you could put your special things?
Of course, she will then be likely to take some other things, and want to say that they are hers. It just wouldn’t be your favorites.
I do, however, want to point one thing out to you. When a child finds out that their parents are having another baby, they’re often very confused and upset. They feel that half of their world is about to be taken over by someone else (and they’re largely right about that!). So your cousin is probably very nervous and doesn’t quite know what to do. And grabbing a toy of yours, and saying it’s hers, might be the one thing she can do that feels powerful and good. So another idea is to just let her do it. And to make sure that either you or someone else in your house then gets it back to you after she falls asleep at night! (Unless it’s a stuffed animal or something like that, that she’s clutching when she sleeps. If that’s the case, I’d say to let her hold onto it until her parents show up – and she’ll be so happy to see them, she’ll almost certainly forget about the toy at once!).
You are an amazing person, poproxy360. You’re very sensitive and very thoughtful. Of course I understand your not wanting your toys taken, but you are so caring about trying to do what’s right for this girl. My guess is that she’ll pick up on this, and love playing with you, for the rest of her life. And soon she’ll learn that she needs to share (especially when that baby brother of hers starts grabbing all of her stuff!).
So try to remember this – that all you’re doing now, all the patience you’re showing (and I know that’s hard!), all the understanding you’re trying to give her, is all going to pay off hugely someday.